Fewer abandoned babies in Gauteng hospitals

2013-10-09 11:27

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Johannesburg - The number of babies abandoned in Gauteng hospitals is decreasing, a health department official said on Wednesday.

"This year, the Gauteng department of health has noted a significant decrease in the number of babies abandoned in its hospitals," said spokesperson Simon Zwane in a statement.

"Currently there are only 11 babies in various hospitals waiting to be claimed. Three of them are at Tembisa Hospital, while Bertha Gxowa, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic, Rahima Moosa Mother and Child, Pholosong, Carletonville, Tambo Memorial, Odi, and Kopanong hospitals have one each."

Zwane said no children were currently unaccounted for in hospitals within the Tshwane health district.

"Last year there were 16 babies abandoned in hospitals in the Tshwane health district and 18 the year before.

"Last year there were 130 abandoned babies in hospitals throughout the province and 127 the previous year and 88 from January to August this year," Zwane said.

All children were placed with child welfare organisations after all efforts to trace their parents had failed. Most of the abandoned were born prematurely.

Zwane attributed abandoned babies in the past to HIV transmission but with the success of prevention of mother-to-child transmission programme the number had declined.

He said 98% of babies born from HIV positive mothers in the province did not show signs of infection when tested at six weeks.

"Educational talks and leaflets are provided in prenatal clinics to empower mothers about different options such as voluntary foster care or adoption in cases of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies," Zwane said.
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