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Bright Philip Donkor: Baby selling is a dent on the medical fraternity

The ability of parents to conceive and produce a baby doesn’t occur on a silver platter. A woman after going through the average period of nine months and even in some cases more gives birth. The complications experienced helter-skelter are better experienced than imagined.

Nonetheless, there is nothing quite as exciting as waiting for the arrival of a new baby. As the due date gets closer and closer, you’ll look for every way to announce, pamper and welcome this new boy or girl into your family or home. Babies aren’t just cute. They’re little beacons of hope for the future.

Baby harvesting and trafficking still abounds in this modern world and Ghana is no exception. Stealing babies especially by our nurses with the connivance and condoning by some doctors, from legitimate mothers and sold to rich but barren women mostly from abroad for a substantial amount of money has eaten terribly deep into our health facilities. Each year not less than fifty babies are stolen from their mothers during delivery. Most of these women are in dire need of children who they can call their own, and others steal the babies for ritual purposes.

Undoubtedly, the buying and selling of babies has been on the radar for a while. It’s no surprise that, it has so far resulted in the arrest of at least 10 suspects according to the Executive Director of Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO). The question is: Are the laws of the country going to take their own cause? We live in a country where lawlessness has become a special delicacy. And our society, which is struggling to disentangle itself from the shackles of economic, political and social cankers has also been affected by another instance of ethical decadence.

What is going on in most Ghanaian hospitals are stealing new-born babies and selling them to rich but barren Ghanaian women and foreigners mainly for selfish and parochial interests. Not very long ago, an alleged baby trafficking syndicate has been busted by the EOCO and the Medical and Dental Council after an investigation.

Are our health professionals and organisations living up to creed- to cure, treat, save and diagnose? Or have they sacrificed the national interest (the life of a mother and newly born baby) for materialism? As a matter of fact, the suspects in the said case are doctors, nurses, social welfare workers, traditional birth attendants and mothers who operated in various hospitals in the Greater Accra Region

On 25th March 2014, MyJoyOnline published a story about one Suweiba who relentlessly requested to see her dead baby at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH). She went to deliver but lost the baby under bizarre circumstances. From the story, the ministry of health had issued an order for the management of KATH to account for the babies declared dead on February 5.

It may interest you to know that, the Muslim woman delivered a bouncing baby at the KATH, and when the umbilical cord was cut the baby was taken away by the nurse only to return later to inform the woman that the baby was still-born. The woman was told that the baby died and has been buried. A feeling of sadness, anger, suspicion and desperation gripped the woman. Meanwhile, during investigations, the nurse said a cleaner took the dead baby and burnt it. That was different from what the nurse told the woman. A pure contradiction!

Unfortunately, medical practitioners who are entrusted with the responsibility of providing assistance to mothers and their newly born babies have gone back on their Hippocratic oaths and are selling babies as a business venture. I think this treats the child just like any commodity you try to purchase at the market. These incidents prove beyond doubt that the fight against such barbaric activities is not yet over. It’s a serious crime against humanity and must be nipped in the bud.

If we allow such issues to sleep, criminals would take clemency of institutions to commit more serious crimes. Such culprits shouldn’t be seen soon walking freely while cassava thieves are jailed. Child trafficking, specifically baby stealing and selling from hospitals and maternity homes have come to stay. It will take consistent actions, determination and political support to prevent and reduce it. Baby - stealing syndicates should be made to face the full rigours of the law. This will save how innocent mothers mysteriously lose babies at various health facilities.

In the case of Ghana, it cannot be said to be stealing, for the fact that, the nurses and doctors are in league with this abominable crime. That is not to say that, it is happening only in this country. Ghana must introduce a law just like the case of Europe where fathers or a birth partner (can be a relative or friend of the woman) is present in the delivery room or even theatre.

This makes it very important for the man to be present when his wife is on the delivery bed. The man must ensure that the new baby is not exchanged for a still-born baby. Doctors and nurses found to be engaged in such shameful acts must be ruthlessly dealt with to deter others. Red-light on baby selling!

Be guided by what Mary Mason succinctly puts it that… ‘‘A baby is something you carry inside you for nine months, in your arms for three years and in your heart till the day you die.’’...

The author, Bright Philip Donkor is the African Journalists for Economic Opportunity Training (AJEOT-2020) Best Article Writer and a GIJ Student.

Writer’s email: bpdonkor@gmail.com

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