KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 8 — The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry’s “Save A Life” campaign to prevent baby abandonment and to support young unwed mothers is starting to show results in just a few months, deputy minister Hannah Yeoh said.
In the past three months, the government has recorded an overall increase of 27 per cent in the number of teenagers and young people seeking assistance through the ministry’s kafe@TEEN adolescent centres, calls to the Talian Kasih helpline, and visits to the National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN)’s Nur Sejahtera clinics.
Yeoh told BFM 89.9’s Health & Living Jr event here last Saturday that from 2010 to 2019, 1,210 babies were abandoned, an average of around 100 infants per year. Most of the mothers were young, scared, hard to reach and suffered from a lack of support and assistance.
Desperation made worse by their circumstances often led to the decision to abandon a baby.
The deputy minister emphasised the need to move away from programmes which were Putrajaya-centric and required beneficiaries to travel significant distances. Instead, Yeoh stated that much needed services must be brought directly to the communities and to people who need it.
“There were three most common areas where babies were being abandoned: residential areas, public toilets and dumping grounds,” she said. “We need to reach out directly to them.”
Yeoh stated that the government and the private sector needed to work together to address this issue.
The Women, Family, and Community Development Ministry has partnered with PLUS Malaysia Berhad to ensure that posters offering support with unwanted pregnancies were placed in toilets at 22 R&Rs along the North-South Expressway. Similar posters were placed in selected pharmacies.
A 30-second clip is also being shown on 282 cinema screens belonging to the TGV cinema chain.
The “Save A Life” campaign was launched in August in response to an increasing nationwide trend of babies being born out of wedlock and abandoned.