Many SA newborns dumped in rubbish
20 September 2011 Leave a comment
Babies of all races are increasingly found dumped in dust-bins, warns Medical Research Council
Johannesburg – Babies dumped in Gauteng were increasingly becoming a large part of the ‘non-natural, undetermined deaths in the zero to four-year age group’, the provincial forensic pathology service warned recently. .
Picture: white baby dumped in dustbin in the increasingly destitute gold-mining town of Springs, South Africa in April 2011. Springs Advertiser Journalist Ernest Wolmarans described the heartbreaking scene: “Tiny hands covered the face of a newborn baby discovered dead in a concrete refuse bin on Fifth Avenue in the Springs CBD on April 5 2011.
“Making the sad discovery at around 12:45pm, passers-by stopped for a second look after throwing away pieces of paper – noticing something odd in the concrete bin at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Seventh Street. With a car guard immediately notifying the Addie, the paper arrived to find the tiny body wrapped in a grey plastic bag, nestled in between scrunched up pieces of clear plastic and discarded fast food wrappers – a fresh umbilical cord evidence of the baby’s recent entry into the world.
“Word spread quickly as those living in close-by flats rushed down to the street while curious passers-by contributed to a growing group of horrified witnesses to the baby’s concrete ‘crib’. Questioning the onlookers, none had witnessed the placing of the baby into the bin. Police were quick to respond to the terrible report, arriving moments after the Addie and cordoning off the area.
The Medical Research Council and UNISA published details of the growing numbers of babies dumped in Gauteng province last year. Said Professor Jeanine Vellema: “These babies in dustbins, gutters, dumps…who are aborted or miscarried newborns being disposed of…are becoming a large part of 60% of undetermined deaths (of young children) in Gauteng.”
“We find these dumped babies when they are dead and we often cannot find out how they died,” she said.
Vellema was a speaker at a presentation on fatal injuries in Gauteng – an initiative by the MRC and the Unisa, supported by the department of health. She said the service was aware of an increased number of dumped babies in certain areas, particularly in urban, metro areas of Johannesburg. “We’ve also seen an increase towards the northwestern suburbs of Gauteng,” she said.
Vellema said it was not clear why these babies were being dumped. “Is it people who are ill-informed about what to do with a baby or dead baby after birth?” She said it was important to note that these deaths were not reported, and it was only because of their discovery by others that their numbers were known. Abortions were the leading external cause of death in 2009 for children aged 0 to 4, where a cause of death was known, the MRC presentation also revealed.