DURBAN – The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health announced today that the total number of babies born in the province on New Year’s Day 2022 was 264.
There were 129 girls and 135 boys born at various state facilities across the province.
This comes after The Mercury’s sister publication, the Daily News, reported that some 91 babies had been born at state health facilities in the province on Christmas Day.
also reported yesterday that KZN’s first New Year’s Day baby was born at Mosvold Hospital in the Umkhanyakude District shortly after midnight.
“Interestingly, we have a set of twin girls who were born at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital to a 25-year-old mother, Ziyanda Madikizela. The first twin arrived at 3am, weighing in at 2.05kg, followed by the second one, two minutes later, who weighed 2.36kg.
“Here at Port Shepstone Hospital we’ve had one New Year’s Day baby, a girl weighing in at 2.59kg, who was born to a 40-year-old mother from the Makhoso area of uMthwalume. Both mother and baby have some health challenges and are under close medical supervision,” said KZN MEC for Health Nomagugu Simelane.
In a statement yesterday, Simelane highlighted the issue of girls under the age of 18 falling pregnant.
Among the mothers of the New Year’s Day babies, Simelane said there was a15-year-old, two 16-year-olds, a 17-year-old, and an 18-year-old.
“In the case of the 15-year-old girl, the father is 18 years old. You then begin to realise that the mother was just 14 years old when she conceived, while the boy was 17. So these are just children who are nowhere near ready for the responsibilities that come with bringing a child into the world,” she said.
Simelane emphasised the risks girls are exposed to when they fall pregnant.
“Not only are they in danger of potentially fatal pregnancy-related ailments, but their prospects of fulfilling their potential as human beings are vastly diminished. We once again call upon parents, guardians, educators and community leaders to have open and frank conversations with their children about the benefits of abstinence and responsible sexual behaviour,” said Simelane.
Simelane also reiterated her call for society to expose and help bring to book any man who impregnates a girl aged 16 and below, which constitutes statutory rape.
“We also urge law enforcement authorities to adopt a zero-tolerance stance against this scourge that continues to bedevil our society,” she added.