Dr Yii: Set up more baby hatches, provide public education on support systems

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING, Jan 18: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii asserts that both the federal and state government should look at setting up more baby hatch services throughout Sarawak not only to protect innocent lives but also to provide assistance to unwed mothers and teenage mothers.

Dr Yii, in a press statement today, said the public should also be educated on all the available support systems so that those involved will not resort to jeopardising an innocent life.

“It is saddening and heart wrenching to hear news and even see pictures of a lifeless new-born baby sprawled on the ground recently in Kuching, and many steps can be taken in order to avoid this, especially in providing support for unwed mothers, teenage mothers and those affected so that they are not alone when they require the needed help and support.

“The hatch service was once available at Kuching Specialist Hospital (KPJ) and they used to provide for women to drop their newborn at the facility but is no longer available after the hospital has moved to a new location.

“I do hope KPJ  and other private healthcare facilities will consider providing a baby hatch once more and the government should look at expanding such facilities to every district in Sarawak,” he said.

Dr Yii pointed out that the call is not in any way to encourage teenage pregnancies or pregnancies out of wedlock, but to provide a last resort option to allow mothers who gave birth to illegitimate babies and did not wish to keep them, to leave the newborns in a safe place.

According to him, prompt discovery and access to possible medical attention is crucial to ensure the future well-being of abandoned babies, and such precious life is then given an opportunity to live, given proper care, medical checks and medical treatment if needed.

“While I recognise the limitations of baby hatches in eliminating this scourge of society altogether, it does provide a last resort to protect the interests, rights, and safety of the child. They should not be punished for the mistakes of their parents but given an opportunity to grow up and fulfill their potential in a supportive environment,” he added.

Dr Yii suggested that the facility should also provide opportunities for mothers or guardians considering abandonment to have informal discussions, if they wish, with nurses or social care staff in full confidentiality.

The staff, he continued, need to be well educated and non-judgmental when talking to the mothers or guardians. They need to have great insight into the needs and issues that surround abandoned babies.

“To properly address the issue there must be a holistic and integrated approach to educate the community including students on the risk of unwanted pregnancies, teenage pregnancies which is worrying in Sarawak and all their collective responsibilities in addressing such issues in their own community.

“The scale and scope of the problem need a holistic solution. So, while education is the first line, a baby hatch does provide a last line of defense by itself, especially when considering the right to life for the baby,” he said. — DayakDaily