In the wee hours of the Idd-ul-fittri my sleep was suddenly cut short by a loud thud in the backyard. My siblings and I rush to check out what was amiss. On top of the mabati roof on our neighbour’s house laid a bundle wrapped in an old shawl. Peering closer we found what we least expected. Covered in amniotic fluids lay a premature baby girl and a fresh umbilical cord still attached. She had just been delivered. Next to her lay a placenta, her only connection to her unknown mother.
My mother a medical practitioner, immediately picked the baby and delivered fast aid checking for injuries. Luckily, she was hardly hurt. Investigating further, we realized that the baby had been dumped from the fourth floor of a nearby flat.
Thrown off like trash, deserted, left in the cold, unprotected and without love by her own mother. Seeing such a beautiful baby tossed into this cruel world without anyone to take care of drove me to tears. I simply could not comprehend how one can treat their own flesh and blood in such a manner! Why would anyone throw away such an innocent kid? How will the kid grow up without her mothers love, protection and much needed advice to navigate the murky waters of childhood all through to adulthood? Now covered in clean and warmer clothes she let out little sobs perhaps aware of her predicament. If she survived such an ordeal without a graze, then she will definitely lead a very successful life.
Cases of infants abandoned in our neighborhood have been on the rise of late. Mwatate Healthcare Centre in Tassia has become the home to these little angles rescued by good Samaritans. In the past three months alone, we have taken in three little girls. The first was found in a dumpsite, few minutes late and she might have ended up a meal to the hungry mongrels scavenging the rubbish for food. Another was found in a vegetables kiosk left for the dead and now this one dropped off a building with the intention of smashing her to death. Sadly, two boys bled to death with their placenta hanging by their cord at the same dumpsite.
Such events tend to leave more questions than answers. What led to this? Who are their parents? Are their parents conscience at peace after committing such a heinous act?
A greater percentage of the population in Kenya comprises of the youth. The youth are those between 18-30 years. This group is most susceptible to unplanned pregnancy and consequently abandoning of kids.
We cannot wait on the government to solve our problems .We ought to find solutions to issues affecting our lives on our own. I hereby step forward as a young woman concerned about the health of fellow sisters and their young ones. They are the most vulnerable, bear scars that may never heal, draining them both emotionally and physically.
The first step in making a difference to the cases of unwanted pregnancies is sensitization. All young women should be enlightened about their sexual reproductive rights. These include, right to family planning, dangers of using emergency contraceptive pills, Safe abortion and dangers if not done well. One needs to know their baby’s worth, intensity of carrying a child and what’s needed to ensure its welfare is well taken care of. One should not rush to make a decision out of ignorance.
As a great friend of mine used to say, “You do not need to offer big things for you to change the world. Most times it is the little things done out of love that really matter.” I would like us all to take part in doing something whoever small it might be in changing this sickening trend.
If we share our experiences and empower one another, infant mortality and maternal death rates will go down. Most importantly, we should fight stigma that is associated with early pregnancies. Instead of demonizing young mothers, we should give them moral and financial support they dearly need. Once this is done, I am sure cases of children abandoned by young parents will be a thing of the past.
I call upon all lasses out there to be responsible of their health and that of their off springs. Guard what you own and take care of it. Have that confident allure that will make you a wise home runner in future.
The responsibility of taking care of children does not fall solely on the women. Men too should step forward and stand by their women during such trying times. Remember that next time it might happen to your sister.
Written by Mark Maish