Out of sheer desperation, fear of being a social outcast and concern over the future of her newborn baby, a poverty-stricken HIV-positive mother in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh reportedly took the decision to sell off her baby.
The mother Tania (name changed) had delivered a baby girl some two weeks back at a government hospital in Jagdalpur, about 280 km from the state capital.
Later, she was seen putting her baby on sale at a market place in Kondagaon area, where she resides.
The district administration swung into action when the matter was brought to their notice. After preventing her from selling her baby, she was assured of all possible medical treatment.
According to chief medical officer R.P. Pandey, Tania was seen at the market seeking prospective buyers for her baby.
V.R. Raman, Director, State Health Resource Centre, told the Hindustan Times that the woman may have taken the decision to sell her baby to ward off the social stigma and seek a better future for her child.
She may be driven by economic misery too, he felt. “If the mother develops such bizarre perceptions about selling her newborn baby, it might also be because of the poor counselling given to her,” opined Raman.
Legally, every confirmed AIDS patient is to be given proper counselling, he informed. “But for obvious reasons, people were hesitant to adopt the baby after a test conducted in the government hospital confirmed that both mother and child are HIV-positive,” said Pandey.
The district administration and health officials do not have much detail about her family but when the woman’s family was contacted, they refused to comment on the issue. “She is not home and better speaks to her when she returns,” a male relative had retorted.
The Bastar collector G.S. Mishra said the issue has been brought to his notice and he has directed the administration to find out more facts on it so as to ensure proper treatment to both mother and infant.
The tribal-dominated Chhattisgarh state, according to state health department, is likely to emerge as among the high AIDS prevalence regions in the country due to its backwardness and geographical vulnerability. It shares borders with high prevalence states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal.