Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Child Theft In Nigerian Hospitals

I was very surprised when I saw this headline in Leadership Newspaper and quickly read through the interesting piece.

Acoording to the report by Leadership, several babies have been stolen from different hospitals in Nigeria shortly after delivery.

In one case, Mrs Chigozie who could not deliver through normal delivery process and had to undergo Caesarean surgery since she underwent premature labour discovered that her baby could no longer be found few hours after she was operated.

According to her, “After the Cesarean surgery, I was very weak until the next day when I regained consciousness. And that was when I demanded to see my babies, but the nurse on duty told me that my babies were alright, that I should get better first before seeking to see the babies.

“I was not myself; as if I knew something went wrong. I was thinking my baby died; if not why should the nurse prevent me from seeing my baby. After much pressure on her, she told me that their incubator was not functioning, so they kept the babies in another hospital’s incubator.

“I asked my husband if he had gone to see our babies, but he told me that the hospital management said that nobody should disturb the baby, that he was fine. They also told him that I needed to be strong first before going to check on the babies.”

Continuing, she said, “After my husband insisted on seeing the baby threatening to report to the police if they delay any further, they finally opened up, saying while they were on attending a meeting, someone came in and stole the baby.”

She added, “So, I reported the incident to the nearest police station and investigation is still in progress. But my question is this, ‘How can a human being suddenly disappear from a maternity ward just like that without anybody seeing the thieve? But only God has the final answer and I pray that He intervenes, because I’m heartbroken.

“Though the case is currently under investigation, but the worrisome question is how long will that level of impunity continue to thrive in our hospitals? Despite the presence of security personnel in some hospitals, new born babies have continued to disappear.”

A senior health officer who pleaded anonymity narrated her own ordeal in the hand of gunmen.

“It was around 2:00am on Friday when six gunmen, perceived to be ritualists, stormed the hospital located along Iyana-Ipaja in Lagos, allegedly demanding for day old babies. They dealt severely with me and some of the hospital staff members for refusing to identify a particular baby.

“They got more annoyed when they were told that no baby was available in the hospital as at the time they came. As a senior person on duty, I tried to convince them that all newborn babies had been discharged from the centre in the last couple of days, but they refused to be convinced.

“This angered them the more and they descended on the staff members, beating us while some of them were busy ransacking the place, in search of babies,” the senior health officer narrated.

This incident coupled with other gory stories of how ritualist would go at length to steal babies has left medical and security experts stunned on the type of security personnel employed to guard the hospital. Many incidents of child theft have been attributed to laxity on the part of health workers, because a good number of them who should have protected the innocent babies connive with ritualists and kidnappers to carry out the nefarious acts under the pretext that such babies died immediately after childbirth.

What a world!

Read more here.

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