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Times of India
25 June 2010
By Radha Sharma
Ahmedabad, India

Move To Curtail Cases Of Parents Abandoning, Disowning Girl Child
Civil Hospital tags newborns to prevent baby-swapping
Infants born in the Civil Hospital are now being tagged with a pink identity band, a practice that adheres to the identification system used internationally. The decision follows a spate of baby–swapping cases reported across hospitals in Gujarat. There were even cases in which parents refused to accept their child, especially if it was a girl.

The new tag, introduced on Tuesday, is foolproof and once fastened can only be cut open. The tag carries crucial information like a baby’s date of birth, sex, mother’s name and the hospital registration number.

“We decided to invest in this identification method to ensure that there was no possibility of any doubt being raised about the identity of a child,” said Civil Hospital superintendent Dr MM Prabhakar. “Public hospitals routinely encounter cases in which parents refuse to accept a girl child by claiming that they had a boy.”

A major controversy rocked the SSG Hospital in Vadodara recently when parents refused to claim babies for four days saying there had been a swap. A parent who had delivered a girl also claimed that she was told that her child was a boy. Later, a case of child swapping was reported from Junagadh Civil Hospital. Civil Hospital officials said that on an average, 35 to 40 infants were admitted to ICUs from other hospitals over and above the 20 to 25 babies delivered on an average in the hospital.

“There are times when some five to six babies are delivered at one time. In such a situation, these tags will prevent any confusion,” said a paediatrician.

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