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COVID-19: Voluntary 'baby abandonment' soars in South Africa

COVID-19: Voluntary 'baby abandonment' soars in South Africa

South Africa

A Johannesburg NGO ‘Door of Hope’ is concerned more families will abandon their babies as the economic situation worsens during the coronavirus lockdown.

They say Since South Africa shutdown at the end of March they have received seven new babies and are at full capacity. The organisation makes use of what is called a ‘baby box’ outside their homes which allows parents to safely give up their children.

Nadene Graham, Door of Hope operations director expressed worry over the situation: “The concern is just between six (different) homes 30 babies have been taken in since lockdown, and a lot of the cases these are older babies.

“Generally you would get babies between newborn and about a month old, but there are some cases where children as old as nine months have been taken in that has been found abandoned.”

Graham says she fears these numbers will only increase as the lockdown impacts the most vulnerable communities. The NGO cares for abandoned children in Johannesburg and support their journey towards finding a permanent family. They say their strong desire is to save children and help them to not only survive but to thrive.

Lebo Mabe, is a caregiver at the facility: “It’s (this job) important because we are looking after orphaned babies, so they need a mother’s love, they need someone to look after them, they need somebody to take care of them because they cannot take care of themselves.

“So that’s why it’s so important instead of just leaving them abandoned to die out there it’s better to save a life.” South Africa has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases on the continent.

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