Child Theft In Kaduna Hospital: How Deaf Parents Lost Their Baby Shortly After Delivery


Yusuf Dantsoho Hospital

Maternity ward of Yusuf Dantsoho Hospital Kaduna, renovated by MTN Foundation. photo taken 16th June 2016

 

By Mohammed Ibrahim

In January 2018, an infant was stolen beside its mother in the maternity Ward of Yusuf Dan Tsoho Memorial Hospital Kaduna, Kaduna State. As it stands today, the child is gone forever.

The infant, whose parents are deaf and dumb, was allegedly stolen by a woman who came into the maternity ward few hours after the delivery on Jan. 10, 2018.

It was reported that the mother of the baby, Salamatu Kabir, went through Caesarean section at the hospital and was recuperating when the incident occurred.

The disappearance of the baby generated serious uproar, including protests, particularly by the Joint Association of Persons with Disability in the state capital.

The protest, it was gathered, prompted the State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Hafsat Baba, to call for an investigation into the matter.

Three weeks after the incidence, there was an attempt to steal a seven old month child in the same hospital by a woman, but the suspect was caught by the baby’s biological mother.

 

Why was it easy to steal the infant?

Many residents in Kaduna have questioned why the second attempt to steal a child within three weeks at the same hospital?

It appeared that the hospital security system was porous, especially that there was no surveillance system like CCTV in place, and the security men in uniform were not up to their task, despite the first experience, “no wonder anybody could come and do whatever they wanted to do,” said Jummai Ibrahim, a patient relative.

To other observers, the hospital was very careless not to have taken an immediate action having seen the first experience,

They should have put on extra measures to regulate movement of people into and out of the maternity ward. It tells you that we are dealing with workers who don’t even know what they are doing. The first incidence should have taught them lesson of enforcing visiting hours but they didn’t care,” said Gloria Ebuka, a resident of Kaduna.

 

Government Reaction

Commenting on the matter, Kaduna State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hafsat Baba, who initiated investigation on the case, said those targeting the infants are experts in child stealing and trafficking.

According to her, infants are targeted because the traffickers believe that when they steal infants from hospitals, it will be difficult for the parents to trace such babies.

“I believe that is why they are being targeted and also another reason is looking at the way we are so liberal with our babies, most especially in a traditional way. When a woman gives birth, even while still at the hospital, people come to take the baby and be passing it round and so on.

“These syndicates seize that opportunity to camouflage as relations of either the mother or father of the new child just to take the baby away,” she said.

The commissioner said since the incident at Yusuf Dantsoho hospital, stringent measures have been introduced to ensure that only during visitation, which is 4-6 pm that people are allowed into the maternity ward.

“Even at that, a visitor is not allowed to pick the baby. If the mother wants to go to ease herself, a nurse is there to take care of the baby until she comes out of the toilet,”

On the outcome of the investigation carried by the Police on the stolen baby, “till date, there is no answer on the where about of the baby,” she said.

“Very sad to say, but this have shown us what we are expected to do, which is to ensure strictness during visitation hours at the maternity ward. We also made appeals in the media ‎for people to be cautious with their babies,” she said.

A senior management staff of the hospital who preferred anonymity said, the committee involving the police investigated the issue of the stolen infant, but didn’t find any of the staff on duty culpable of “negligence”.

“You see, that incidence that led to the baby stealing was unfortunate, ‎but we have taken serious measures now at the maternity and labour rooms. We also enforce the visitation hours as recommended by the committee,”

“We have been advocating that mothers should always keep an eye on their babies, because we don’t want to have a repeat of missing baby in the hospital,” he said.

Contacted, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health and Human Services, Dr Shehu Muhammad Usman, said since the incident occurred a circular has been sent to all public hospitals in the state on the need to increase supervision of maternity wards.

Dr. Usman who said he was not the permanent secretary when the incident occurred, added, “I’m sure the police are still investigating the issue so as to arrest the suspect. We are calling on women to always be cautious of people around them each time they give birth, so as to avoid ‎future reoccurrence,” he said.

The State Police Command Public Relations Officer DSP Yakubu Sabo couldn’t be reached for comment, as he was not picking his calls.

The Chairman, Physically Challenged Persons, Kaduna State Chapter, Comrade Rilwan Abdullahi in an interview, argued that the inability of the hospital management to find the stolen infant was worrisome.

‎”We call on the hospital management to be very vigilant in the maternity ward, so as to avoid a repeat of what happened to our members’ child in that hospital,” he said.

A woman whose sister gave birth to a set of twins at the hospital seen outside the maternity room confirmed to our reporter that since the last incidence at the hospital, stringent measures have been taken to protect the infants.

“You can’t just go in and take a baby, even if you are related to the woman that delivers unlike in the past. This is why you see me standing outside waiting for the visitation hour,” she said.

Hitherto, visiting hours of 4 – 6 pm daily had not been strictly observed.


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Posted by on 05/02/2019. Filed under Health, Investigations. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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