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Abandoned newborn in good health

A newborn girl was found inside a bucket by a neighbour.



An infant abandoned after birth on Vaadhoo island is in good health at the regional hospital in the southern Gaaf Dhaal atoll.

Both the baby girl and her mother were brought over in the early hours of Tuesday, an official from the Thinadhoo hospital told the media. There were no injuries or complications during birth but the baby would be kept under observation for 48 hours.

The newborn was reportedly found inside a bucket by a neighbour around 7pm Monday evening. The police and gender ministry have launched investigations after the case was reported.

In a statement late Monday night, the gender minister appealed against publishing the newborn’s photo in the press or sharing them on social media, where photos of the baby inside the bucket have been circulating.

The gender ministry is working with the family and other institutions to assure the baby’s safety, it added.

According to Mihaaru, the 30-year-old mother gave birth out of wedlock. She has three children under the age of 10 from a previous marriage.

A Vaadhoo island council member described her as a kind and compassionate mother. Islanders told the newspaper the mother was in denial of the pregnancy.

There have been several reports of infanticide and abandoned babies in recent years.

In 2013, the shocking story of a teenage girl whose newborn baby was discovered buried outside her home attracted global media attention and condemnation from human rights groups.

The 15-year-old was sentenced to be flogged with 100 lashes for fornication, despite being a victim of sexual abuse by her stepfather. The High Court overturned the sentence in August 2013.

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.

A report titled ‘Maldives Operational Review for the ICPD Beyond 2014′ blamed a lack of sexual education for young Maldivians and identified incidents of infanticide and unsafe abortions as symptoms.

Media reports cited in the study included several newborn babies and a few prematurely born babies abandoned in parks, buried in secluded places, or thrown into the sea.