ACCORDING to statistics availed by the Namibian police (Nampol) from the year 2016 to May 2022, a total of 237 babies were dumped in the country.
Behind these statistics lay harrowing reports of desperate mothers who employ a plethora of methods to end their newborn babies lives with the hopes of never being caught.
On Monday, 11 July 2022, a 32-year-old Hileni Johanness, was denied bail after throwing her newborn baby boy onto the roof of her home in Onayena, whilst a week earlier, a 27-year-old Hilde Tshekupe Iita pleaded guilty to charges of murder and defeating or attempting to defeat the course of justice after she had allegedly poisoned and burned her infant baby in March 2020.
These are just a few cases before court, despite government as well as private organisations offering to take in these unwanted babies.
According to the statistics provided by Nampol, from the year 2016/17 a total of 41 newborns were dumped, and in 2017 to 2018, the dumping rate stood at just 22 babies. For the years 2018/19, 2019/20, 2020/21, the figures stood at 22, 41 and 56 babies respectively, showing an upward trend in infanticide in the country.
For the year 2021 the police reported 32 baby dumping cases, whilst a total of 20 babies have been dumped from January to May 2022.
According to Nampol spokesperson, deputy commissioner Kauna Shikwambi, baby dumping or alternative murder is a serious crime punishable by law, “hence as law enforcers we continue to deter women from the commission of such crimes; thereby encouraging them to seek assistance instead of abandoning or killing babies”.
Ben Nangombe, the executive director (ED) of the ministry of health and social services stated that mothers who do not wish to keep their newborns should hand them over to any maternity ward or health facility in the country.
Ronel Pieters, the founder Ruach Elohim foundation situated in Swakopmund, shared that the foundation has taken in close to 40 babies since its inception in April 2019. Pieters encouraged mothers who do not wish to keep their babies to reach out.
“Just phone, I get enormous amounts of calls from young mothers who need help. People who live close to the foundation in Swakopmund sometimes drop of the little ones in person,” Pieters shared.
The Ruach Elohim foundation can be contacted at 081 242 6396 whilst those nearby have a choice to leave the infants in the anonymous baby saver box constructed at the foundation.