Friday, March 24, 2023

Botswana infanticide spikes as prostitutes kill unwanted babies

Prostitutes, foreigners and teenagers who find themselves stuck with unwanted pregnancies are increasingly resorting to infanticide and baby dumping, and Francistown is the hardest hit, officials have revealed.

Botswana’s second city which is closest to Zimbabwe has seen an influx of Zimbabwean illegal immigrants, some of whom have had to resort to prostitution now finds itself in the grip of a growing problem of infanticide and baby dumping.

“There is a disturbing trend of sex workers getting pregnant and dumping their babies because they want to proceed with the habit. Foreigners are also implicated in baby dumping cases. This is because some of them engage in relationships while they do have families in their native countries.

They end up getting trapped in unwanted pregnancies and dump their babies to avoid complications at home”, Maikano Wellness Centre Chairperson Nkosi Bentu told the Sunday Standard this week.

Bentu said the problem is not helped by teenagers who often times resort to dumping their babies following unwanted pregnancies.

In an effort to contain the escalating cases of infanticide and baby dumping in Botswana, Maikano Wellness Organization (MWO) a local Non Governmental Organization will hold its first campaign in Francistown on Monday (tomorrow) to try and sensitize the public, particularly the youth on the issue.

The campaign will be held at the Civic Centre hall under the theme, “Campaign against infanticides and baby dumping,”

In an interview with the Sunday Standard, Bentu said that they chose to launch the campaign in Francistown as the city is hardest hit by baby dumping.

“`The reason we are launching the campaign in Francistown is because during our workshop in May this year in Gaborone, the police indicated that baby dumping cases were on the rise in Francistown. This will be the first campaign of its kind in Botswana,” he said.

He said that the campaign is targeting the youth especially the students in Junior and senior Secondary school to educate them on issues of baby dumping at an early age. Bentu said that in most cases the youth engage in unprotected sex and end up with unwanted pregnancies leading to baby dumping cases. He also said that foreigners and prostitutes are also involved in baby dumping.

“We are targeting the youth in schools to educate them at a tender age so that they do not end up engaging in such activities. He said that the campaign seeks to impart life skills on the youth to help them avoid unwanted pregnancies and unprotected sex. He however said that they are currently encouraging the government to create employment and business opportunities for the youth so that they can be able to take care of their children rather than dump them.

“Unemployment and poverty is also the main cause of baby dumping among the youth as they end up with fatherless babies. This leads to frustration and the young mothers end up dumping their babies,” he said.

Bentu said that they have invited the Member of Parliament for Francistown South, Wynter Mmolotsi who will be the key note speaker at the event. He also said that they will hold similar workshops next year in different areas across the country. He said that the campaign is sponsored by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Security Services and Zurich Insurance Company Botswana Limited.

“We have also invited our stake holders, the Ministry of Health, the Department of Social Services from the Francistown City Council (FCC), the Botswana Police Services and officials from the Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital,” he said in conclusion.


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