The report that many parents are not claiming babies admitted at the Osu Children's Home is, indeed, worrying.
It is sad that some babies are abandoned by their parents. What those parents fail to appreciate is that when abandoned babies are found and sent to the home, they are expected to be there for a short period, not permanently.
However, many are those who are abusing the merciful arrangement for abandoned children.
When the home accommodates more than it can handle, the quality of service rendered to the inmates suffers. The managers of the home cannot be held responsible if the services at the home deteriorate as a result of having too many children to handle because it is not their making.
After all, the home is primarily meant to cater for those who really have no parents to care for them. Indeed, the home is for those whose parents or relatives cannot be traced because their mothers may have died in motor accidents or some form of disaster.
Certainly, the home is playing an invaluable role in the society but it must not encourage parental irresponsibility on the part of adults who do not think that they have a duty to care for their children.
Many of the abandoned babies are products of unplanned birth by young men and women who decide to satisfy their sexual desires. But it is important to drum it home to such people that if they are ready to engage in what will bring babies into the world, they must equally be ready to shoulder the responsibilities of parenthood.
It is here that the role of religious leaders comes into play. Are they inculcating in their congregations the need to be responsible parents? Are they encouraging their young ones to appreciate the responsibility of parenthood?
If they do that, then they will be contributing effectively towards reducing the social burden of unwanted or unplanned pregnancies.
Equally, parents and relatives of girls who deliver and abandon their babies have a big responsibility in caring for such unwanted babies.
Fortunately, we have, as part of our culture, the extended family system which enjoins close relatives to care for their kith and kin.
This means every member of the extended family must be concerned about what happens to other members, especially the aged and the young.
By extension, members of the extended family must be quick to find out wayward teenagers in that family. That way, they will be able to exercise control over them or ensure that necessary customary rites are performed to normalise any amorous relationship they may be involved in so that the men will take responsibility for any unplanned pregnancies.
We think that if all these measures are carried through, the incidence of abandoned children who are not orphans will reduce to lessen the burden on the Osu Children's Home.