Baby hatches, a place for parents to anonymously leave infants for adoption, are aimed at reducing the rate of baby dumping cases in Malaysia and saving the lives of newborn babies.
KPJ Penang Specialist Hospital chief executive officer Abd Aziz Abd Rahman said many still threw unwanted babies into garbage bins, toilet bowls, drains or lavatories despite baby hatches being made available.
"Dumping babies is one of the easiest ways by a couple who commits adultery and illegitimate pregnancies in this modern life, but they must not dump in disgusting areas.
"Many are still not aware of baby hatch places amid phobias and panic thus throwing the baby into garbage bins. The spirit of having a baby hatch is to help save babies' lives," he told reporters today.
According to Abd Aziz, a baby hatch was opened in KPJ Penang last year but had yet to receive any babies due to a lack of awareness of such a service. He added that the act of leaving a baby in the hatch was not a criminal offence.
He also expressed hope that illegitimate newborns could be left in a safe environment as they did not ask to be born but nevertheless had the right to live.
Currently, nine KPJs offer baby hatches, namely KPJ Tawakkal (Kuala Lumpur), KPJ Seremban, KPJ Ipoh, KPJ Johor, KPJ Kuantan, KPJ Penang, KPJ Perdana (Kota Baru), KPJ@Damai (Kota Kinabalu) and KPJ Kuching.
Abd Aziz said seven babies were saved by baby hatches at nine KPJ hospitals since the programme was launched in 2010 by non-governmental organisation OrphanCARE Foundation.
He said KPJ had an integrated standard operating procedure for the managing of the baby hatch collaboration with OrphanCARE, including lodging a police report within 24 hours after the incidence report was made to OrphanCARE.
Abd Aziz said the baby would then be released to police, OrphanCARE and representatives of the Social Welfare Department for future adoption which had a long waiting list. – Bernama, June 22, 2015.
Note: The article was first published on The Malaysian Insider