KUCHING: A Sarawak minister is encouraging NGOs and private hospitals to provide baby hatch facilities as part of measures to address teen pregnancy and baby dumping.
Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said there was only one baby hatch in the state so far, which was set up by KPJ Kuching Specialist Hospital in 2017.
But she said the facility was temporarily suspended as the hospital recently moved to new premises and was still looking for a suitable location for the baby hatch in terms of technical aspects, safety and confidentiality.
“During discussions with several private hospitals and NGOs, KPJ has indicated its willingness to share its technical expertise and the costs needed to set up a baby hatch.
“Any NGO or private hospital interested in setting up a baby hatch can get information from KPJ, ” she said at a press conference yesterday.
The need for baby hatch facilities came into the spotlight recently after a newborn baby was found dumped at Jalan Bukit Mata here on Jan 13. The case is still under investigation.
Fatimah said her ministry would continue to take holistic and integrated action to reduce teen pregnancy and baby dumping through its one-stop teenage pregnancy committee.
These include running awareness and advocacy programmes for students, school dropouts, parents and community leaders.
“In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have developed community-based modules that can be conducted in compliance with standard operating procedures.
“We will also provide digital content which can be accessed through online platforms, ” she said.