Nondumiso Hlongwane and Baby Okuhle is congratulated by MEC Dhlomo, acting HOD, Dr Musa Gumede. Cllr Thabani Dube and his counterpart at the Umzumbe Municipality, Cllr Sizwe Ngcobo at GJ Crookes Hospital.
KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, 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.
According to MEC Dhlomo, significantly, teenage pregnancy accounts for about eight to 10 percent of all deliveries in the country, which is about a million deliveries per year.
But close to 45 percent of maternal deaths in the country come from this small 10 percent (of teenage mothers), because these young people generally delay coming to clinics.
“They hide the pregnancy. And by the time they come to deliver, there are certain complications that cannot be reversed. Therefore, if we were to reduce or eradicate teenage pregnancy, we would significantly improve the maternal health outcomes of the province,” he explained.
The MEC was speaking at GJ Crookes Hospital in Scottburgh, where he also announced that by 8am, KwaZulu-Natal had 36 babies (17 boys and 19 girls) born on New Year’s Day.
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.