A poverty-stricken single mother in India sold her newborn son to a childless couple for 6,000 rupees (120 dollars) so she could pay her medical bill, a media report said on Tuesday.
The 20-year-old woman, Rajitha, delivered the baby by Caesarean section last week in the town of Kothagudem in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, but could not afford the 2,000 rupee (40 dollar) hospital fee, the NDTV news channel reported.
A rickshaw driver friend gave her 6,000 rupees for the baby, which he planned to raise with his wife. The couple have no children.
Police interrogated the woman in the local hospital, 270 kilometres (170 miles) from the state capital Hyderabad, where she told them her husband had abandoned her and she had no means to support herself and a baby.
Police said they would take action against the hospital.
“Buying and selling a baby is an offence, so we will be booking cases,” Kothagudem revenue division officer P. Rajaram said.
Welfare officials want the baby to be reunited with his mother so she can breastfeed him. They said the mother and child would then be shifted to a state-run facility where Rajitha can decide if she wants to put the baby up for adoption.
The incident occurred in the parliamentary constituency of India’s minister of state for women and child development Renuka Chowdhury.
Nigerian Sextuplets Mum died of complications
Sextuplets delivered by Mrs. Amuda Ajoke Bello at Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital
A woman who gave birth to a set of sextuplets over the weekend in Nigeria has died of complications.
Ajoke Bello, 32, gave birth to the six babies by Caesarean section operation on Thursday and was initially in a stable condition.
But she developed complications from excessive bleeding at hospital in Sagamu, Ogun State, south-west Nigeria.
The naturally conceived babies - three girls and three boys - were in a stable condition, said medical officials.
Two of the babies were transferred on Saturday to the intensive care unit of a private hospital in Lagos, where their condition improved.
Mrs Bello died at the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital in the early hours of Sunday.
Professor Femi Ajayi, the chairman of the board of the hospital, confirmed her death to the Nigerian Tribune newspaper: "It was an unfortunate incident.
"The doctors and nurses at the hospital put in their best to ensure that the woman lived.
"She was under close monitoring as the medical team did not leave any stone unturned to ensure that she was alive."
The BBC's Fidelis Mbah in Lagos says charity groups have been making donations for the upkeep of the babies.
The governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, had visited Mrs Bello in hospital on Saturday and promised the government would give all necessary assistance to her family.
According to the figures from the World Health Organization, published in 2007, Nigeria's maternal mortality rate is the second highest in the world, after India.
Over half a million women die in childbirth annually around the world, according to the WHO, and Nigeria alone accounts for 10% of these deaths.