South Africa

SA delivered over 500 Christmas babies

Christmas babies Department of Health teenage pregnancy

At least 194 babies were born in Gauteng on Christmas Day.

More than 500 babies were born on Christmas Day across the country in 2023, the Department of Health has confirmed.

Almost 40% of all the newborn babies were delivered in Gauteng health facilities, including clinics, followed by KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).

Gauteng births

According to the Gauteng Department of Health, at least 194 babies were born in the province on Christmas Day.

The newborn babies were delivered at various health facilities across the province between the stroke of midnight and midday.

In the breakdown of the statistics, the provincial department confirmed that regional and district hospitals delivered most births at 81.

This was followed by community healthcare centres, which recorded the births of 49 babies.

Academic hospitals came in third with the delivery of 41 babies.

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Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital and Steve Biko Academic Hospital accounted for 22 and seven births respectively.

Lastly, tertiary hospitals delivered a total of 20 babies, with Tembisa and Kalafong hospitals recording 16 and 4 deliveries respectively.

Gauteng Health and Wellness MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko visited Sebokeng Hospital in Sedibeng on Monday to give new mothers gifts containing essentials for their babies.

“We have made a commitment as the Gauteng provincial government to ensure that our [townships, informal settlements and hostels] communities are prioritised in all government programmes.

“These gift packs which include essentials such as nappies, wipes, bum creams, soap and a bathtub, will go a long way in the first days to a month of the babies’ lives,” Nkomo-Ralehoko said.

Limpopo babies

Limpopo saw the arrival of 209 Christmas babies (106 boys and 103 girls), according to the provincial department of health.

The number of babies decreased by eight when compared to last year’s Christmas Day births, which was 217, consisting of 118 boys and 99 girls.

In 2023, the Mopani district saw the most births with 57 babies, comprising of 27 boys and 30 girls.

Nine of the mothers are teenagers, according to the statistics.

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This was followed by the Vhembe district which welcomed 49 babies in total – including 24 boys and 25 girls.

The district recorded the highest number of teenage mothers at 17.

The Capricorn district recorded 48 babies, with 30 boys and 18 girls. Six teenagers gave birth in the district.

Furthermore, the Sekhukhune District has also welcomed 35 new born babies, comprised of 18 boys and 17 girls, where 10 teenagers gave birth.

In the Waterberg District, eight teenagers delivered their babies. The total births recorded in the district were 20 babies – including seven boys and 13 girls.

Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba expressed concern over the number of teenage pregnancies, emphasising the need for various sectors to intervene and address the issue.

According to the statistics, there were 33 teenage mothers in 2022 and this number rose to 50 in this year, indicating an increase of 17.

‘Exclusive breastfeeding’

Meanwhile, the national Department of Health has encouraged mothers to prioritise “exclusive breastfeeding” for at least the first six months to two years of the babies’ lives “to enable them to achieve optimal growth and development, and also enjoy a long, safe and healthy journey of life”.

The department also urged all mothers and caregivers to ensure their new born babies remain up to date with immunisations, to protect them against life-threatening childhood diseases such as polio, measles and smallpox.

“It is also important for parents to ensure that babies are registered for birth certificates within 30 days after birth to avoid late registrations.

“To make it more convenient for parents to register their children within 30 days, the Department of Home Affairs has set up 161 offices at public hospitals and selected clinics as part of government’s efforts to promote early birth registration,” the department’s spokesperson Foster Mohale said in a statement.

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