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Abandoned Child Dies of Malnutrition in Kakata, Margibi County

Margibi County – Medical authorities at the government run C.H Rennie Hospital in Kakata, Margibi County have confirmed the death of a seven month old baby which was undergoing treatment on July 25, 2016. The child’s death resulted from acute malnutrition, the hospital confirmed.

The seven months old baby was undergoing Therapeutic Care after he was abandoned by his teenage mother.

The teen age mother abandoned her baby to a woman in the Sackiegbormota Community on the outskirt of Kakata on Wednesday July 13, 2016 after she reportedly asked the same woman identified as Annie Sirleaf to use her rest room,p leading with the woman to kindly hold her baby.

Explaining to reporters, Madam Sirleaf said after the girl had gone to use the bathroom she waited for hours till late 6pm but the mother was nowhere to be found, adding that she was constrained to report the baby who was in a very weak health condition to the police in a bid to locate the mother.

The police after profiling the particular of Madam Sirleaf in whom care the child was abandoned was turn over to the social welfare team of the Ministry of Gender Children and Social protection which later refer the ailing baby to the C.H Rennie Hospital as nurses diagnosed the baby of acute malnutrition.

A week, the baby was bedridden in hospital as a result of an acute state of the malnutrition the fugitive teenaged unidentified mother reported herself to the Liberia National Police’s Women and Children protection section in an apparent move to clear her guilt for reason why she abandoned ailing baby.

The mothe, aged 15, told the police and the social workers that her action against the innocent child is due to hardship she has been subjected to by the alleged father of the child, a commercial motorcyclist who refused to take responsibility when she was impregnated by him as both of her parents are deceased and the means of getting help from anyone is not forthcoming.

Explaining her ordeal, she broke down in tears as she sadly lamented that she had no means of further caring for herself and her ailing baby as she noted that her action was meant to enable her baby survive through another person’s care although she never visited her ailing child at the hospital.

The 4th grade dropout, who is seeking refuge in a village along the Bong Mines -Kakata Highway with friends , is in a desperate condition appearing hopeless, beaming her eyes as if life for her is meaningless – living as alone child without parental care.

Meanwhile the social welfare division of the ministry of Gender Social and Protection is doing a psychosocial counseling for her in to help her regain her hope.

Sam Taylor, supervisor of the Ministry of Gender social welfare division in Margibi county speaking in an interview expressed serious concern over the case of Kemah as a clear indication of the venerability teenagers, adding that many teenagers are faced with especially the high rate of pregnancy which amounts to about 75 percent pregnancy rate amongst teenager.

He argues that lack of parental care is one of the reasons for teenage pregnancy.

“We are actually challenged by the high numbers of children in the streets but we don’t have the capacity to provide care for them now, unlike Save The Children was providing safe home care for street kids but they have scale down due to lack of donor funding” Sam Taylor noted.

Mr. Taylor at the same time pointed out that the Ministry of Gender is currently being challenged with the proliferation of street sellers (kids) who are used by their parents and guardians as breadwinners. He added that most times these girls get engaged in early sex resulting to most of them becoming teenage mothers.

He, at same time, called for more support to curb the situation in order to save the future of the young children.

Liberia is one of the most impoverished countries in the world. According to the National Human Development Report 2006, more than 75 percent of its population survives on less than a dollar a day. Close to 40 percent of children less than five years are stunted or too short for their age – problem of chronic malnutrition.

Nearly 7 percent of Liberian children suffer from malnutrition which is defined by a very low weight for height (below 3-z scores of the median WHO growth standards) by visible severe wasting, or by the presence of nutritional.

According to the 2013 Liberia Demographic Health Survey report 32 percent of children under five suffered acute malnutrition, which means 71 out of 1000 live births are prone to malnutrition.

Report by: Emmanuel T. Degleh 

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