The Head of Psychiatry at the National Hospital Guido Valadares (HNGV), in Dili, Dr. Gaspar Quintão, said many factors contribute to baby dumping and an in-depth research needs to be carried out to identify the main causes for its future prevention.
He said, it was possible the women suffered from serious depression after childbirth due to postpartum depression, but other social factors may have also contributed, so an in-depth research needs to be carried out to know the main contributing factors to the problem.
He said all women may suffer from depression after childbirth due to hormonal changes.
“We have seen a few cases and in my observation as a Psychiatrist, other contributing factors may be, irresponsible actions by their partner and feelings of shame. In other cases, women may be financially stable and even have the support of family and still kill their babies. These are cases of postpartum depression,” he said in his office, Bidau, Dili.
He informed that after a week from childbirth a woman may show symptoms including over thinking, insomnia, irritability, loss of appetite, hopelessness and may even not care about the baby, and if any of these symptoms are present they should immediately consult a doctor.
He said even though his unit has seen cases of mothers diagnosed with postpartum depression that there haven’t been many.
“It can be cured. We have the medicines and the specialists, but we need families and health professionals to work in collaboration for referral,” he said.
He added, to prevent baby dumping there needs to be greater effort from the community, including of public health professionals, to raise awareness in the community about the symptoms of mental illnesses such as depression, stress and other mental health issues, for early detection and treatment.
Meanwhile, the President of the Board of Timor-Leste’s Women’s Network, Judite Dias Ximenes concurs that there is a need to carry out an in-depth research on the issue baby dumping.
“Baby dumping is a women’s issue because they are the ones who get pregnant. We need to conduct an in-depth research on this issue. It is clear there is a problem and it is difficult to be solved,” she said.
She said baby dumping often happens because women fell there is no other alternative but to dump their baby because of the lack of support from society and family.
On the other hand, the Director of the organization Young Women’s Movement (MOFFE), Yasinta Lujina said killing, including baby dumping, is a crime and parents should take some responsibility for the action committed, including for the woman getting pregnant because a relationship is between a woman and man.
To combat this action, she urged security authorities to act against those responsible and take them to court.
“Families do not need to think that sexuality is a taboo or a sensitive issue that cannot be shared with their children, because there are many ways for children to access information, for example through the internet, which provides a lot of information that can put their future at risk,” she said.
She added, the government needs to take into consideration and create a policy of prevention and to strengthen raising awareness activities and health reproduction and sexual education to all adults, to prevent other social issues including baby dumping.