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Jakarta Post

Malnourished, abused 7-year-old boy from Bandung now lives with foster parents

  • Arya Dipa

    The Jakarta Post

Bandung   /   Fri, January 24, 2020   /   03:58 pm
Malnourished, abused 7-year-old boy from Bandung now lives with foster parents “A competent health professional should check on his debilitated condition. Both adults and children have the potential to experience psychological and physical trauma. His sickness may be psychological because he was abused,” Head of the West Java Health Agency Berli Hamdani Gelung Sakti said. (Shutterstock/File)

Seven-year old M. Rizki Anugerah lay down helplessly at his foster parents’ house after being rescued from his allegedly abusive biological parents in Marga Mekar village, Pangalengan district, Bandung regency, West Java.

“He is now conscious but he still cannot move. He consumes food and milk via a hose through his nose,” Ade Sukmana, a social health worker for Pangalengan district told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

Ade said Rizki’s condition was first detected by an officer who conducted a screening of malnourished children in Pengalengan district in September 2019.

“His biological parents seemed to try and hide their son’s condition," Ade said. After the officer found out about his condition, the child was then taken to Soreang hospital and then referred to Hasan Sadikin hospital in Bandung.

During treatment in Bandung, the medical staff found that not only was the child malnourished, but there were also signs he had been abused, with wounds on his head, legs, arms and torso.

“He was in coma for a few weeks at the hospital. After he was sent home, he still could not talk,” Ade said.

Separately, Hasan Sadikin hospital public relations officer Reny Meisuburriyani said further treatment for Rizki would be handled by the health staff of the Pangalengan community health center (Puskesmas).

Rizki has been receiving treatment at his foster parents’ house in Lamajang village, Pangalengan district, since December.

His foster parents are related to his biological parents so the Bandung administration decided to entrust the boy's welfare to them rather than return him to his biological parents.

“We suspect that the biological parents abused him for three months before his condition was finally discovered by our officer. Therefore, we opted not to return him to his biological parents,” Ade, who is now responsible for Rizki’s nutrition intake, said.

The foster parents, Tahdi and Alit, are in the low-income bracket but have been trained by staff of Al-Ihsan Hospital, Ade said.

“We are still coordinating to ensure the child gets the best treatment. We are also looking for an orphanage that can admit him,” Ade said.

Ade said there had been no discussions regarding legal prosecution of Rizki’s parents.

“His parents have five other kids. His youngest sibling is not yet 1 month old. The baby has been sent to Sumedang. This is probably a consideration against legal prosecution,” Ade said.

Head of the West Java Health Agency Berli Hamdani Gelung Sakti said officials were still gathering information about the boy.

“A competent health professional should check on his debilitated condition. Both adults and children have the potential to experience psychological and physical trauma. His sickness may be psychological because he was abused,” Berli said.

Head of the West Java Social Agency, Dodo Suhendar expressed concern about the case.

“We should prioritize his health first. Once he becomes healthier, let’s talk about social rehabilitation. We can put him in an orphanage for children with special needs,” Dodo said. (gis)