You might remember my post about teenage pregnancy being on the rise, averaging up to 50 cases in a day in Malaysia. In that article, we also touched on the subject of unwanted pregnancies and we barely scratched the surface about baby dumping as well as unsafe abortions.
Increase in Number of Baby Abandonment
Due to the lack of sex education and negative influences, baby abandonment cases are slowly increasing year after year. “For every 100,000 live births, there is an estimated 16.33 babies found abandoned illegally in 2011, compared to 13.06 babies in 2007,” said Dr Salmi Razali, a psychiatrist and senior lecturer at Monash University.
Actual statistics of baby dumping after birth is hard to come up with, because chances of actually finding these babies are slim. We read a lot about it in newspapers, but more often than not, these cases go unreported.
To do something for these Malaysian orphans, Dato Adnan Mohd Tahir, and his wife, Datin Elya Lim, gathered a few friends and formed OrphanCARE.
Safe Hatch For Babies
OrphanCARE was established in 2008 as an NGO before they were accorded Foundation status by the Prime Minister’s Department in 2012. Working together with the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, OrphanCARE’s mission is placing orphans into loving homes and providing refuge for unwed mothers as well as a safe haven for abandoned babies.
Aside from making the baby hatch available at all times, they have rooms inside with a caretaker who is on-watch 24 hours as well as a room specifically for counselling and general care for the unwed and expecting mothers.
“Our first baby hatch was set up in Malaysia back in 2010 to receive babies who might otherwise be abandoned. An additional two baby hatches were set up in Johor Bahru and in Sungai Petani Kedah so currently we operate in these three states,” said OrphanCare to Vulcan Post.
Here is also a list of of other Baby Hatches found all over Malaysia:
OrphanCARE has managed to save 147 babies and counselled 87 birth mothers. These mothers ended up making the decision to parent their child, after receiving guidance.
How Does the Baby Hatch Work
Firstly the door to the Baby Hatch is very visible and situated right in the front of every OrphanCARE centre. The gates to the their centres are never closed. This allows parents to enter and to have access to the hatch any time of the day.
The space inside is a temporary cot large enough to accommodate one baby comfortably. This cot is lined with a soft mat and some pillows. A special sensor beneath the mat, triggered by the weight of a baby, would turn the air conditioning on. An alarm would sound and alert the caretaker to hurry down to the hatch and tend to the child immediately. A intercom is situated next to the hatch, for parents who wish to communicate with the caretaker if needed.
Once the door of the hatch is shut, it can not be opened by anyone other than the caretaker. This ensures the safety of the baby. There are also forms for the parents to fill in whatever information(for example, nationality or religion), that they are comfortable with.
Most babies placed in the hatch are newborn, some with their umbilical cords still attached. The baby’s medical needs are assessed first before sending him/her to the hospital. Further tending to the baby will be done at the facility after that.
OrphanCARE hopes to help not only parents who are forced by circumstances to abandon their babies. They also hope to change society’s mindset towards orphans in general.
credit : Vulcanpost