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Sunday,September 27,2020 04:39 AM

Saved from the jaws of death

By Vision Reporter

Added 4th September 2010 03:00 AM

He was only a day old when he was dumped in a pit-latrine. Luckily enough, a resident who was passing by heard a baby crying and alerted residents of Nabuti village, Mukono, who came to its rescue.

He was only a day old when he was dumped in a pit-latrine. Luckily enough, a resident who was passing by heard a baby crying and alerted residents of Nabuti village, Mukono, who came to its rescue.

By John Semakula

HE was only a day old when he was dumped in a pit-latrine. Luckily enough, a resident who was passing by heard a baby crying and alerted residents of Nabuti village, Mukono, who came to its rescue.

They informed the Police about the baby in the latrine, but did not wait for the Police to arrive, because its life was at stake.

Now, the child who was rescued is six years old and in Primary One.

He lives with a caretaker, Nakalembe, a small scale business woman in Mukono municipality.
The latrine where the boy was dumped six years ago is near Nakalembe’s home. She says she was among the first people to come to the boy’s rescue after he had been discoverd.

“Before the Police came, we agreed to pull the baby out. We thought the Police could delay and the baby would die,” she said. “We attached two poles to a box, which we lowered into the pit and pulled him out. The baby had been wrapped in a polythene bag, he was very small but luckily he was still alive.”

By the time Police and fire brigade from Kampala arrived, the baby was already out and the village leaders had taken him to Mukono Dispensary.

“The doctors said his life was not in danger. They treated him and told us to give him a spoon of glucose daily,” Nakalembe said.

The challenge came when the Police asked who would take care of the baby. Nobody was willing, until Nakalembe volunteered to do so.

She gave him three names. One was a Luganda name meaning God’s grace. The other two were a Christian and a Muslim name. She gave him both names because she did not know the religion of his parents.

“He is a jolly boy and plays freely with his friends. I am also lucky that he rarely gets sick,” said Nakalembe.

However, of recent, the boy is being stigmatised because the entire community knows he was picked from a latrine. Although the adults handle it maturely, children give him nicknames related to a pit latrine.

“Many times he reports to me that he has been insulted and I try to console him as much as I can,” Nakalembe said. “At times, he is isolated by his friends when they are playing.”

Nakalembe said one day, an unidentified woman went to her home with sh2m and wanted to buy the boy. “She told me there was someone who wanted a baby boy, but I had developed such a strong attachment to him that no amount of money would push me to sell him.”

Recently, someone contacted her saying they wanted to adopt the boy, but she refused. “I fear that he will be harmed and yet God wants him to live.”

Nakalembe, says at the moment, she can afford his food and scholastic materials, but fears that later in life, it may be costly to educate him.

Causes and consequences of child dumping
Baby dumping is a growing problem globally. There are many reasons why mothers in Uganda throw away their babies, but they are all linked to psychological distress in situations where there is no family support or counselling.

Many young women become distressed when the father of the baby refuses to take responsibility. This is worse when the mother is a teenager.

Others, upon realising that they have HIV, decide to dump their babies, falsely thinking they might not live long. Some have been living religious lives and fear to be seen with a baby when they are not married.

Others simply fear to take on responsibility. There have been situations in which the mother feared to raise a baby born out of incest or rape.

A person who dumps a baby can be charged with child neglect or attempted murder depending on the circumstances.
Under the Penal Code any person found guilty of attempted murder is liable to life imprisonment while the offence of child neglect attracts a sentence not exceeding two years imprisonment.

Places that look after abandoned kids
Malaika Babies Home- 0772 073 924
Sanyu Babies’ Home- 0414 274 032
Watoto Babies’Homes- 0414 313 561
Nsambya Babies’ Home- 0772 191 847
Kankobe Children’s Home- 0772 191 847
Nateete Family Home Group- 0772 191 847

Saved from the jaws of death

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