Hundreds of babies abandoned in Gauteng Hospitals

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Health Spokesman

360 babies have been abandoned in Gauteng state hospitals in the last three years.

These shock figures are revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Hope Papo in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Papo, 136 babies were abandoned in 2011, 135 in 2012, and 89 up to August this year.

Carletonville is the worst affected hospital, with 55 abandoned babies during this period. Three hospitals in the East Rand also have high numbers – Pholosong with 41 abandoned babies, and Tembisa and Far East Rand hospitals have each had 35 abandoned babies.

Other badly affected hospitals include the following:

Charlotte Maxeke     – 24

Leratong                    – 24

Mamelodi                   – 19

Chris Hani Bara       – 17

Dr Yusuf Dadoo       – 16

Steve Biko                 – 14

Most of the babies are placed with Child Welfare within a few weeks, but some babies may stay in the hospital as long as four months if Child Welfare has no available beds.

Unplanned pregnancies and poverty appear to be the main reasons for mothers leaving their babies in hospitals after birth.

It’s a great tragedy that so many babies are abandoned. More education is needed so that distressed mothers are aware of options like voluntary foster care or adoption.