The police are investigating the death of a baby born to an 18-year-old girl in Baa Atoll Thulhaadhoo Island on Tuesday.
“The baby’s body was brought to Male’ for further investigation and buried soon afterwards. But we have no more information to give right now,” a police spokesperson said.
The Thulhaadhoo Health Center declined to comment on the case.
Local media Haveeru reported that the baby girl was born out of wedlock and no one was aware the mother had been pregnant until she gave birth.
It is not yet clear whether the baby was stillborn or if it had died after the birth.
The mother has been hospitalized at the Thulhadhoo health center. Staff at the center had alerted the police after the mother came in for medical care on Tuesday.
Reports of infanticide and abandoned babies have been growing in the Maldives in recent years.
In May 2014, a dead baby girl was discovered inside a bag in a Malé residence. The mother was identified as an 18-year-old who reportedly gave birth alone in her bathroom.
A dead male infant stuffed into a can was discovered by divers in the Malé lagoon in April 2014.
Issues regarding a lack of support services for women with unwanted pregnancies in the Maldives have been well-documented in the past.
A report titled ‘Maldives Operational Review for the ICPD Beyond 2014‘, carried out by the Department of National Planning, claimed that incidents of infanticide and unsafe abortions are symptoms of a lack of sexual education in young Maldivians.
The report identified, “clear indicators of the imperative need to provide access to information on sexual reproductive health and reproductive health services to the sexually active adolescents and youth population.”
Infanticide also appears to be increasing, as demonstrated by media reports cited in the study, which included several new born babies and few premature babies abandoned in parks, buried in secluded places, or thrown into the sea.
“These are clear indications for the need of life skills programmes and reproductive health education,” the study suggested. “Access and utilisation of contraceptives to avoid unwanted pregnancies must also be advocated to minimise these issues.”