A 10-year-old Colombian girl has sparked outrage after becoming one of the world’s youngest ever mothers by giving birth to a healthy daughter.
The girl, a member of an indigenous tribe called the Wayuu who are based in the La Guajira Peninsula in the north of the country, was 39 weeks pregnant when she underwent a Caesarean section. Most pregnancies are 38 weeks.
It was the first time the pre-teen, from the town of Manaure, had visited a doctor in connection with her pregnancy.
She reportedly arrived at the hospital bleeding, in floods of tears and ‘enormous’ pain from the contractions.
Doctors decided to carry out the risky operation because of her age – and both mother and daughter, who weighed just 5lbs, are said to be ‘doing well’.
This is despite the mother refusing to breastfeed her newborn and the pair being confined to the neo-natal unit of the hospital, which has not been disclosed.
Although Colombian police could prosecute the father for underage sex, the country’s constitution guarantees the Wayuu a certain amount of autonomy.
It allows the tribe to maintain its own sovereignty and certain cultural heritages, of which one is said to be the giving birth of children at an extremely young age.
In any case the community has remained tight-lipped as to the identity of the father, with some Colombian newspaper speculating it is a 15-year-old boy. Others believe it is a 30-year-old man.
The case has led to criticism from the director of the hospital where she gave birth.
Efraín Pacheco Casadiego told RCN La Radio: ‘We’ve already seen similar cases of wayuu girls.
‘At a time when (the girls) should be playing with dolls, they go to having to take care of a baby. It’s shocking.’
But Alejandro Samplayo, director of parenthood organisation Instituto Colombiano Bienestar Familiar, referred to the tribe’s culture.
He added: ‘Since it’s a Wayuu girl we are trying to respect all of their rights since they have autonomy and their own jurisdiction.’