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Who is responsible for 'baby dumping?'

AfricaHYS Team | 12:17 UK time, Thursday, 11 November 2010

South African Minister Patricia de Lille has held an emergency meeting to tackle the increase in the number of abandoned babies in the Western Cape.

She challenged the fathers to take more responsibility for their children.

'We urgently need to do something about the societal attitude of men towards fatherhood" she said.

"We must begin to empower men to take responsibility. Each time a woman abandons her child we must ask the question, have they already been abandoned themselves by the father of that child?'

Is this a problem where you are? Who do you think is responsible for ' baby dumping' on the continent?

If you would like to debate this topic LIVE on air on Thursday  11 November  at 1600 GMT, please include a telephone number. It will not be published.


  • Comment number 1.

    if african men (and all men everywhere) did not believe they are entitled to sex whenever and whereever they are aroused there would be far fewer unwanted and uncared - for babies everywhere.

  • Comment number 2.

    I think baby dumping arises from unwanted pregnancies-both the man and woman do not want or are not ready for the baby. It is foolhardy to go ahead and ask why they made it in the first place. To me the way forward would be to strengthen and modernise adoption laws and regulations so that those who can care for the babies and adopt them as their own are legally facilitated to do so. In Uganda, newspapers have recently reported about three cases of barren women who have forged pregnancies, gone to hospitals purportedly to have labour, but came out with dolls, which they presented as their new born babies which unfortunately 'died' soon after delivery. This tells a story of thousands of couples/even single parents out there who could easily adopt the dumped babies if arrangements were put in place making adoption easy and simple. I recall the battle one celebrity -can't recall her name instantly-had to go through in Malawi to adopt a poor boy down there, but when she did, the boy's life changed for the better! Most of our adoption laws are archaic, of colonial era and do not suit current situations. I suggest, therefore, that adoption laws be upgraded, modernised and enriched to make adoption easier. The unwanted kids would not just be dumped, but formally handed over to the the agency responsible for looking for foster parents.

  • Comment number 3.

    julian of sierra leone says most men are not in aposition to care for a baby and baby's mother. easy solution, keep yourself to yourself and don't make babies you cannot support.

  • Comment number 4.

    We, as parents and the community as a whole, are responsible for baby dumping!
    1. We do not support these new parents who have no clue on what they can do with this child!
    2. The stigma of having had a chld out of wedlock causes parents to dump their chldren. Sometimes it is more than stigma.
    3. Today's moral and economic situation do not enourage some people to keep their children.

    A solutoin both on the moral and economic side is needed along with support from the community!

  • Comment number 5.

    Blaming the mothers is blaming the victims. However, the babies are the most innocent ones who can never ask their mothers:Why?
    I adopted a baby like this and I feel that my son feels the loss of getting the answers to the questions? Why? Why me? Do I have any brothers and sisters? What would have happen to me if you would not have adopted me? I love my son and feel blessed that I was able to adopt him.
    As for the fathers? Do they even know that they "produced" a child? We need to do more, we need to make the "fathers" understand that are responsible too!
    There is a lot of education needed on how to prevent pregnancy and what it means to be a mother or a father.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    When it comes to baby dumping, I think both parents are responsible. What I don't seem to understand is while protection is not used in the first place? I think any one caught dumping a child should be punished to the fullest extend of the law. Our society has given a pass to such behaviour and it has now become a norm for young girls and women to dump their babies.

    What I don't understand is why these individuals elect to become sexually activity if they are not fully ready/prepare to deal with the aftermath? In this age of HIV and all the other sexually transmitted diseases, why take such rick? And also, why should society pay for such behaviours. With respect to the fathers who often are nowhere to be found, I say shame on them. I thought Africans men "valued" their family and their family names and would work hard to presolve their kinship? What a shame that this prepare was only in the past and no longer exist? I don't know where the soceity is going but such morales need to be addressed/

  • Comment number 8.

    Yes indeed its aproblem in many African countries where I have worked.
    But the major causes include
    - Rampant rapes , guys women are raped every other day!! Children out of such relationship have no placement in African society becuase, they are an evidence of an unepalined sexual intercourse ( Rape). And you know the stigma it carries.
    - Secondly, In most if not all African societies, children belong to the man. But the man may reject the pregnancy for so many reasons which I may not be able to eplain ie responsibility, seual relationship just for fun ( no longterm agenda) and the girl may not know this.

    Just too many issues.

    whom do we blame? both the women and men but more blame to the men.

  • Comment number 9.

    Until all men are held responsible for the health, development and well-being of every child they father, planned or unplanned, women will be left to deal with children they may or may not be able to care for.
    There are many good men out there who care for their children; however, we live in a world where some men have unprotected sex with women and then take no responsiblity for the consequences of their actions. They frequently leave it to the women to prevent unplanned pregnancies, but even if a woman does use some sort of contraceptive, none is 100% effective. If a man does not want to make a baby and be responsible for the child for the rest of his/her life, then he needs to be equally responsible for preventing it from happening in the first place (don't have sex or use a condom) or he needs to be ready to accept the consequences of a life-long committment to caring for the child. Perhaps if men were held responsible for every child they fathered, there would be fewer unplanned or unwanted children.

  • Comment number 10.

    Baby dumping rained cat and dog in the early 1980's when I was a little boy. You hear it in the news everyday, you even see it yourself everyday. It was very pathetic! I think this manace has been replaced by child labour in present-day Nigeria.

  • Comment number 11.

    Because of the fact that some men do not want to take responsibility of their child, and if the woman feels that she does not have the capacity to raise and care for the child by herself. As much as it hurts for her to dump the child, she probably thinks that dumping the child is the best solution for her instead of having to live to see her child go with food, clothing and proper shelter. She therefore, remains with no choice but to dump her child. If you are a man and cannot take responsibility of your actions then dont do things that requires responsibility.

  • Comment number 12.

    The government, poverty, culture that sees a single mother as taboo, and society attitude to single mother pregancy are the main cause.

  • Comment number 13.

    It all starts with Men that deny and run away from responsibilities and most women in africa are not employed since there is high rate of unemployment in africa and most good jobs are occupied by men and women cannot do hard labour especially south african women who doesnt like working.When men dump them their most option is dumping the babies.We need good and harsh measures to be taken once they are caught.We must make sure that relationships that we get involved in are well known by friends and family to avoid this.

  • Comment number 14.

    I'm sure the catholic church has a hand in this somewhere. And the fact that this is so widespread shows how backward and drachonian Africa is, no one takes responsibility, it's always somebody elses fault. Wake up Africa, it's 2010, not 1510.

  • Comment number 15.

    Babies are wonderful and the most precious things in the world. There is such a simple solution, people have, since the dawn of time been having unprotected sex in the heat of the moment without thinking of the fact they will may a baby. This has happened for thousands of years and will never, ever change. Freely distribute condoms, make them cool, make them easy to obtain, make them fashionable, hand them out at nightclubs and alcohol outlets, have celebrities and religious figures promoting them. Condoms are cheap, and can stop and unwanted baby being made, they prevent STDs and giving up a baby or having an abortion is far worse than being caught with condoms. There should be no stigma attached to them. I am sure once a man or woman has given up a baby they will never truly be happy again, and all this heartache can be prevented with a simple piece of latex. But that is my opinion, and obviously no one will ever listen to me, an ordinary English housewife and mother of 2 boys.


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