Baby Hatch: A safe place for unwanted new-borns
KUCHING — June 6 2019. Spare a thought for illegitimate babies. This is what prompted KPJ Kuching to set up a baby hatch to allow mothers who gave birth to illegitimate babies and didn’t wish to keep them, to leave the newborns in a safe place.
Its general manager Nurhazimah Mahat said this move was aimed at reducing cases of baby dumping and saving the lives of innocent newborn babies.
She said the baby hatch was a collaborative effort by KPJ, the Welfare Department (JKM), Royal Malaysia Police and government hospitals to prevent individuals from taking a short-cut by throwing these babies in trash bins or public sewage ponds.
“These babies did not ask to be born; they are innocent and have the right to live. Give them a chance to live. Who knows the babies might become a successful person or leader in the future,” she told Bernama in a recent interview here.
Currently, 10 KPJ hospitals, including KPJ Kuching, offer baby hatches. The others with this facility include KPJ Tawakkal (Kuala Lumpur), KPJ Seremban, KPJ Ipoh, KPJ Johor, KPJ Kuantan, KPJ Penang and KPJ Damai (Kota Kinabalu).
According to Nurhazimah, the KPJ Kuching baby hatch has received three babies since it was opened in 2017. However, one baby died the moment it was left there.
She said the identity of a mother who left her baby at the hatch will not be investigated in the hope that she will lead a normal life and not repeat the mistake.
Nurhazimah said once a baby was put in the hatch, all normal checks for newborns would be conducted by a medical team, and if any further treatment is required the baby would be handed over to a child specialist.
“Then, KPJ would inform the police and JKM for management procedures,” she said, adding that after the Welfare Department had obtained a court order, the baby would remain under the care of JKM before it is handed over to adoptive parents.
According to media reports, a total of 577 baby and foetus dumping cases were recorded between January 2014 and December 2018, with Selangor registering the most cases at 135, followed by Sabah (67), Johor and Kuala Lumpur (62 each), Kedah (42), Perak (35) and Pahang (33).