Abandoned Baby Project
Programme Objectives1. To decrease HIV transmission in abandoned babies through the training of the first contact person (police officers, baby safe staff and social workers)
2. To improve survival in abandoned newborns through training the first contact person
3. To advocate at a national level for policies to be implemented to protect lives of abandoned newborns.
The Emergency Care of Abandoned Baby Training was developed in 2007 to train those who have first contact with abandoned babies. It has been offered to the South African Police Service since the end of 2009 and the aim is to train two officers from each station in the different provinces.
Bigshoes offers a 2-day course on the emergency care of abandoned newborns. The course covers CPR, emergency medical treatment for bleeding umbilical cords, cold exposure, as well as placement and legal procedures.
This course targets the first contact people with abandoned newborns – social workers and police officers. The goal is to empower the first contact to care for the newborns in a manner that they may have a chance to grow up to fill big shoes! These newborns have a need for medical care and to be protected from possible exposure to HIV.
The following activities are implemented to address these issues:
- The training of first contact people (usually the police) in the emergency medical care of the newborn
- The provision of abandoned baby packs for this purpose
- An advocacy campaign to create awareness of the need to test and provide PEP to abandoned newborns <72 hours old
- The training of Casualty Departments and clinics in HIV testing and prescription of PEP in accordance with the national PMTCT guidelines.
We have received reports from the cases of abandoned babies in the Gauteng region where lives have been saved due to the medical supplies and training the police officers received from Bigshoes.
Bigshoes is involved in local forums of professional medical practitioners to further PMTCT in the provinces. The staff give input into policy and the National Strategic Plan regarding the health management of abandoned babies.