Five month-old foetus correctly pronounced dead: IGMH

Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) has said that a five month foetus born prematurely yesterday (January 1) was correctly pronounced deceased before being sent to a cemetery in Male’ for burial.

Local media reported yesterday that the foetus had been incorrectly diagnosed as deceased by staff at the state-run hospital after showing signs of life at the cemetery.

A spokesperson for IGMH today claimed that the foetus, which was born severely malformed, was believed to have been mistaken as alive by cemetery workers after a “reflex” action gave the impression of signs of life.

Relatives of the mother had expressed concerns about their treatment and how they felt IGMH had dealt with the matter, the hospital spokesperson confirmed.

The Ministry of Health has meanwhile announced it would be reviewing policies at state-run hospitals in the Maldives and their handling of such situations as details of the case emerged today.

The parents of the foetus were also shown to have shown concern about their treatment by the hospital, accusing staff of negligence. The matter was said to have been reported to police, according to the Sun Online news agency.

Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef was not responding to calls at the time of press concerning the matter.

The IGMH spokesperson told Minivan News this evening that the foetus, which has been born under inducement from drugs, had a severe malformation where the walls of its skull had not been developed fully.

Staff at the hospital claimed that for the mother’s safety, doctors had decided to induce labour with drugs on the basis that the severity of the condition would have given the foetus a very limited chance of survival as well as severe brain damage.

A spokesperson for IGMH confirmed that after the foetus had been returned from the cemetery, staff did not find a pulse or heartbeat. No treatment could be offered, the hospital source claimed.


Minister of Health Dr Ahmed Jamsheed Mohamed confirmed to Minivan News today that he had initiated an inquiry into the incident, which would then be used to enact any potential recommendations or action needed to be taken by hospital staff in future.

Dr Jamsheed said he was not able to discuss the nature of some of these changes before a review had been completed.

“The changes would depend on the findings and recommendations. The issue would be looked at jointly by the Ministry of Health and IGMH,” he said. “The policy decisions and regulatory measures would be common to all state hospitals, but would also depend on the level of hospital and respective services provided.


Two women arrested in connection with the discovery of dead baby in Villingili

Two women have been arrested in connection to the discovery of discarded six month foetus in Villingili, found on Friday inside a Coast Milk tin.

Deputy head of police Serious and Organised Crime Department Inspector Abdulla Nawaz told media today that police had arrested a 30 year old woman from Noonu Atoll who was the suspected mother of the baby, and a 24 year old woman from Kaafu Atoll who was alleged to have assisted her deliver the baby prematurely.

Nawaz said that police were now examining the body of the 30 year old woman after she confessed to giving birth two days ago but was unable to tell police where the baby was.

The 24 year old had meanwhile confessed that she had assisted Shaira in delivering the baby prematurely, Nawaz said.

Abortion is illegal in the Maldives, although an unreleased 2007 by the International Planned Parenthood Foundation (IPPF) found the practice was believed to be widespread due to the social stigma faced by a woman bearing a child out of wedlock.

Nawaz said that police had also obtained information about the baby found dead in Male’ track swimming area in early May, and were seeking to verify the report.

This morning the body of a newborn baby boy was discovered in a park in Hulhumale’,  with underwear tied tightly around his neck.

Spokesperson for Hulhumale’ Hospital Dr Ahmed Ashraf said the baby may have died from asphyxiation because of the restricted air passage.

‘’When the baby was found the knot was a bit loose, but the marks on its neck shows that it was tied tightly around the neck,’’ Dr Ashraf said.


Premature baby found in Coast Milk tin on Villingili

The corpse of a premature baby boy was discovered yesterday inside a Coast Milk tin on the island of Villingli, the second abandoned infant found in as many weeks.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam told Minivan News that the dead child, believed by forensic examiners to have been born three months premature, was discovered in the discarded container near the powerhouse area of the island.

The baby was taken to Indira Gandi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) in Male’ for forensic examination before being buried, according to the police.

On May 5 a dead infant was been found in a plastic bag in the swimming track area of Male’. A medical examination later concluded that the baby’s had sustained cuts, bruises and other wounds.

Shiyam said that yesterday’s discovery of the dead infant on Villingli was not believed by police to reflect an escalating problem in the country concerning child abandonment or abortion.  However,  he said police did have serious concerns about the health implications for mothers of these abandoned children.

“Although we know this [abandonment] is happening, it is not something we believe is a growing issue. However, we request the public not support people who are thinking of abandoning a baby,” he said. “We are very concerned about the health of the mothers of these children, who are not receiving proper medical treatment or the drugs they may require for recovery.”

Police added that they had not yet made any arrests in connection with the discovery of either body and asked for members of the public with any possible information about the case to come forward.

In November last year another abandoned newborn was discovered alive in some bushes near the Wataniya telecommunications tower in Hulhumale’.

Abortion is illegal in the Maldives except to save a mother’s life, or if a child suffers from a congenital defect such as thalassemia. Several studies on HIV in the Maldives have identified risk factors including high levels of promiscuity and little use of contraception, and anecdotal evidence points overwhelmingly to a high rate of abortion.

In an article on the subject in 2009, Minivan News reported that many women unable to travel to Sri Lanka resort to illegal abortions performed by unskilled individuals in unhygienic settings.

Abortion-inducing pills and injections administered by amateur abortionists are one recourse while others turn to harmful vaginal preparations, containing chemicals such as bleach or kerosene. Although infrequent, some insert objects into their uterus or induce abdominal trauma, such is the stigma of having a child out of wedlock.