In a state that is infamous for female infanticide, the Health Department has figured out a way to curb the number of female babies being abandoned in forests, on the roads, etc.
Through a new scheme called Ashray, the government will place cradles in hospitals attached to government medical colleges, district hospitals and satellite hospitals of the state.
Sex selective abortions have been common in this state, where the sex ratio is 883 girls for 1,000 boys, as per the 2011 Census.
Representational image. Photo source: Flickr/ReSurge International
Non-governmental organisations, like Mahesh Ashram in Udaipur, have been at the forefront of saving abandoned babies and rehabilitating them. They have put up cradles at various spots for people to come and leave female babies, instead of abandoning them in dangerous areas.
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Neeraj K. Pawan, from the Health Department, told the Time of India, “Since the Health Department has implemented the Pre-Conception Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique Act strictly, female foeticide becomes difficult. Now, abandoning of girl child at unsafe place has become a problem.”
The Department aims to place the cradle in 65 hospitals across the state by the end of February.
How the cradle works
The cradle, which is specially designed, has an automatic alarm that will go off after two minutes of placing the baby in it. According to Pawan, “The bell will not ring immediately after placing the baby because we want to keep the identity of the person who places the baby in the cradle a secret. If we will not keep the identity of the person safe, he will not place the baby in the cradle. So, the bell will ring after two minutes, when the person would have already gone from the place. There will be no cameras and we are not interested in who is placing the baby, we are interested in how to save the girl child.”
Let’s hope this initiative by the government will help save the lives of many female babies.