KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, speaking at GJ Crookes Hospital in Scottburgh, announced that by 8am, KwaZulu-Natal had had 36 babies (17 boys and 19 girls) born on New Year’s Day.
A beaming Dhlomo congratulated some of the happy but tired moms and greeted the new arrivals.
Thirty-year-old Bongiwe Mlotshwa’s daughter was the first New Year’s Day baby in the province, arriving exactly on the stroke of midnight, at Eshowe Hospital. At Addington Hospital, 24-year-old Sindisiwe Gumede gave birth to a set of boy twins. The two youngest mothers of New Year’s Day babies are aged 16, and gave birth at Ekhombe and Edendale Hospitals. There are also three mothers aged 18 who gave birth at Rietvlei, St Apollinaris, and Emmaus hospitals; and another three aged 19, whose babies were born at Nkandla, St Apollinaris and Edendale hospitals. The oldest mother of the New Year’s Day babies in the province is aged 43, and gave birth at Edendale Hospital.
Dhlomo took the opportunity to express his concern at the number of teen pregnancies and number of young moms who die during childbirth in the province.
Dhlomo said he believes more open dialogue about the dangers of unprotected sex and teenage pregnancy could reduce by up to half the number of mothers who die while giving birth, or shortly afterwards.
“Significantly, teenage pregnancy accounts for about 8 – 10% of all deliveries in the country, which is about a million deliveries per year. But close to 45% of maternal deaths in the country come from this small 10% (of teenaged mothers), because these young people generally delay coming to our clinics. They hide the pregnancy. And by the time they come to deliver, there are certain complications that cannot be reversed.”
The MEC applauded GJ Crookes Hospital for having not recorded a single maternal death for the past three quarters of the year. Describing the hospital as a beacon of hope, he also commended the mayor of Umdoni Municipality Cllr Thabani Dube and his counterpart at Umzumbe Municipality Cllr Sizwe Ngcobo respectively, for being active members of the hospital board. He said both leaders had set a good example of how the involvement of community leaders can improve efficiency at a healthcare facility.
“The governance of this hospital, not only on the side of management, but also in terms of community leaders who are supporting it, is what makes it to be this strong.”