'Something has to be done': N.C.C. calls for action on abandoned babies

The Vice President of the National Council of Churches, Reverend Aisoli Iuli, has called for a response to cases of newborn babies being fatally abandoned such as the provision of safe hatches allowing infants to be abandoned safely.

Samoa was shocked on Saturday after news emerged that the body of dead newborn baby girl was found dumped next to a trash bin at the Mulifanua Wharf. It is the second case of an abandoned child being found dead in the past month. 

The N.C.C. Vice President has called on the Samoa Government to consider a baby hatch or baby box programme in response to the problem:

“A place where mothers can bring babies, usually newborn, and abandon them anonymously in a safe place to be found and cared for, something has to be done,” said Reverend Aisoli.

“It happens in other parts of the world and it is how we address it that matters.” 

Reverend Aisoli Iuli said the weekend's incident and last month's demand a response.

“Women will go to great lengths to save face and shame motivates the inclination to hide and murder the baby by abandonment," he said. 

“This is murder and it should be addressed at all levels.

“We need to pray and act to address this at the grassroots level, in the villages, families and in the Church."

The former President of the Methodist Church said the abandonment of two babies in one month is rare in Samoa but this should be an eye opener that such acts will continue to occur. 

“When there is fornication, the women will most likely resort to abandoning the newborn baby and despite the fact this is a Christian state, we will encounter these problems," he said. 

The newborn baby's umbilical cord was apparently still attached in photos that showed her lying next to refuse and which went viral on social media on Saturday afternoon. 

The second infant was found dead and his body was floating on the scene at Lauli’i. No one has come forward to report that missing child and Police say they have no leads on that case.

Reverend Aisoli noted that such sensitive issues should be addressed in villages and concluded that prevention is better than cure.

“The Church Ministers need to preach the word and discourage these evil acts within their Ministries, just as well for the villages," he said. 

“Shame will bring you to your knees and make you do the impossible. However they forget that what is done in the dark will always come to the light.

“While the baby hatches idea is one worth considering, the Government should also consider the need to have more preventive initiatives set up so that mothers don’t abandon their babies at all.

“What can we do to reach out to the women who often conceal their pregnancy and we might be able to avoid women feeling that they are in such desperate straits that they have to abandon their child."

Meanwhile Police investigations into Saturday's case were ongoing over the weekend. 

“We are investigating this matter," said the Commissioner of Police, Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil, in response to questions from the Samoa Observer.

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