The health MEC of KwaZulu-Natal, a coastal South African province in South Africa has raised concern over the high-rate of teenage pregnancies in South Africa after recording three teenage mothers of the Christmas babies.
Image credit: psi.org
Just like anywhere else in the world, there’s always a lot of exictement over Christmas babies. South Africa is no different, but KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo, raised concern over the high-rate of teenage pregnancies.
The youngest mother in the province was, according to him, just 16 years old.
MEC Dhlomo was speaking at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial and RK Khan Hospitals this morning, where he joined Home Affairs Minister Dr Siyabonga Cwele to welcome 45 babies born on Christmas Day.
By 9:00 24 boys and 21 girls had been born at healthcare facilities throughout the province. The first Christmas babies to arrive were born at midnight, at PMMH and at Northdale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg.
The youngest mother of the Christmas Day babies is aged 16, and gave birth to a baby boy at Queen Nandi Memorial Hospital in Empangeni.
Two 17 year-old mothers gave birth to a boy and a girl at PMMH and at St Apollinaris in Harry Gwala District, respectively. Eshowe Hospital welcomed Balungisa Nzuza’s twins, a boy and a girl.
Reflecting on proceedings of the day, MEC Dhlomo said:
“We’ve recorded three teenage mothers of the Christmas babies so far. One of them we’ve just seen at PMMH, a 17 year-old. The other one who is 16 years old, gave birth at Queen Nandi Memorial Hospital. This means she fell pregnant when she was 15 years old.
“That worries us because a significant number of maternal deaths come from teenagers, because at that age you’re simply just not ready to become a mother. We are also worried because some of these girls fear coming to hospital early. They hide the pregnancy until it is too late.
“We really want to encourage teenagers that please, if you have started engaging in sex, you must have precautions to delay the pregnancy by other means. Family planning is one of them.
“We are happy to record that almost all our hospitals in the province have Home Affairs offices – depending whether they have IDs or not, by the time they leave our facilities, these mothers would have registered the birth of their babies.
“We want to encourage our nursing sisters to keep on reminding mothers that when they day comes for them to deliver, they must please carry along their ID, and that of their husband or boyfriend.”
“That will go a long way to ensure early birth registration because, for everybody, a birth certificate and later the ID, becomes part of your life.”