Staff Reporter

Three-pronged strategy to create awareness of importance of girl child

Dharmapuri cradle baby centre launched in 2002 Counselling sessions for lactating mothers

Dharmapuri: The Cradle Baby Centre at the Dharmapuri Government Hospital here received a seven-day-old female baby on Monday.

The centre has received 701 babies since its inception on April 13, 2002 out of whom 672 were girls.

According to statistics available with the district administration, in 2003 158 infants were abandoned at the centre, which increased to 207 in 2003.

This dropped to 156 in 2004 and rose to 179 in 2005. Out of 700 babies surrendered, 32 were taken back by their parents. Interestingly 29 male babies were also surrendered by their parents.

All for male child

Besides, children of deserted wives and children born out of wedlock were regularly abandoned at the centre. Of these, it was the third or fourth child that was the most vulnerable as it was surrendered for the birth of a male child.

A woman from Periyakuranpatti surrendered her seventh child following compulsion from her eldest daughter and son. But the woman is yet to undergo family planning operation. Another woman surrendered her ninth child because the family was illiterate and also keen on having a male child.

Palacode tops

As many as 178 infants have been surrendered to the centre from Palacode taluk followed by 155 in Krishnagiri, 153 in Dharmapuri, 87 in Pennagaram, 32 in Harur, 28 in Pocchampalli and 21 in Pappireddipatti and Hosur taluks.

According to District Collector M. Chandrasekaran, a three-pronged strategy will be launched to create awareness among the parents of the importance of a girl child. The steps include sensitisation of self-help groups through Mahalir Thittam and NGOs and launching of awareness campaigns through representatives of local bodies. Counselling sessions will be conducted through the Health Department to lactating mothers against discrimination of a girl child.