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Survey highlights baby dumping problem

Namibians still consider baby dumping an option after giving birth to unwanted babies, a survey conducted by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare together with the Ministry of Youth National Service Sport and Culture, and the Legal Assistance Centre, has revealed.
Rachel Coomer from the Legal Assistance Centre said that they hope that the information collected from the survey is a better reflection of the real situation as they consulted a wider range of people.
The majority of people who responded were women between the ages of 19 and 30. Previous research has shown that, on average, women give birth to their first child when they are 21 years old, and that most women have 1 to 2 children.
According to the survey, the main reason why people dump babies was fathers denying paternity. Other reasons include mothers who were still going to school, and mothers that are unaware of foster cares, adoption and institutional care.
The report suggested that men need to be encouraged to take responsibility of their children to help prevent baby dumping.
“More dialogue is needed between men and women about their roles and responsibilities as parents, students and learners in particular need to be targeted with information on options for dealing with an unwanted pregnancy and how they can continue their studies as parents,” the report say.
The report also state that men and women should be provided with more information about relationships and contraception to help them decide when is the best time to have sex and to become parents and that people need more information about alternatives such as foster care, adoption and institutional care.
Coomer said that this information is vital as it has helped them identify key target groups such as learners still in school.
“The results have shown specific areas that we need to focus on. One particularly important finding is that people want information about what to do.”
she added that although the production of factsheets on adoption and foster care is not enough to fight baby dumping, they hope that in the future they can provide more information .
The survey was conducted mid last year via sms, asking the public why baby dumping is such a problem in Namibia and how best the public think government can address this issue, a total of  3 742 people gave their contributions to the questions that were placed in two local dailies.

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