Child abandonment remains a legacy in a context of social and economic inequalities and patriarchy in society.
Studies have suggested that some key reasons for abandonment include a sense of desperation because of abject poverty and unemployment, the “breakdown” of the family, HIV/Aids, and stigmatisation because of cultural beliefs.
This is often worsened by poor access to sexual and reproductive health services (SRH), education, as well as society’s restrictive gender norms, discrimination in employment and lack of support systems.
These compounding factors create an environment in which many women are not supported in pregnancy and raising in a child.
Many women who are sexually active want to take action to prevent pregnancies, yet struggle to gain access to SRH services that could help them choose the contraceptive method best suited to their needs.
Reports of contraceptive stockouts are increasingly becoming widespread and family planning services around the country are compromised.
Each year thousands of women and young girls end up becoming pregnant when they do not want to be or do not plan to be.
More than 30% of adolescent girls and young women between the ages of 15 and 24 have an unmet need for contraceptives. It is worse for girls in rural communities.
A number of women, who become pregnant, do not want to continue with it but are scared of being ostracised and the stigma associated with an abortion.
In a 2014 master’s thesis, titled Sad, Bad, and Mad: Exploring child abandonment in South Africa, child protection activist Dee Blackie offers insights.