Babies, significant Christmas gift for many

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Most people have been waiting in anticipation to open their gifts on this day, however, the most significant Christmas gift for many is childbirth.

A total of 91 Christmas babies – 66 boys and 25 girls have been born in the Western Cape since this morning. The province’s first arrival was a girl who was born at 9 minutes past midnight at the Tygerberg Hospital.

Provincial Health spokesperson, Byron la Hoe, says the maternity ward at New Somerset Hospital has been the busiest today.

“We congratulate the parents on the safe delivery of the 91 new arrivals comprising of 66 boys and 25 girls on Christmas Day to date. We would also like to thank our staff members for their hard work on this special day.”

Management and staff at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria expressed jubilation for being among those that delivered the Christmas bundle of joys. They are among those that share their special day with Christ.

In the Eastern Cape, MEC for Health in the Eastern Cape Sindiswa Gomba lauded the work done by the department to ensure that women give birth to healthy babies at public hospitals.

The Western Cape Health Department has welcomed 42 Christmas babies, 23 boys and 19 girls at its facilities in the province. The first one, a girl, was born at nine minutes past midnight at the Tygerberg Hospital.

The Khayelistha District Hospital and Tygerberg have been the busiest with five births each recorded since the early hours of Wednesday morning. The Western Cape Minister of Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo has congratulated all new parents.

Infant mortality rate

Mothers of babies born on Christmas Day at Shongwe Hospital in Nkomazi Mpumalanga have welcomed gifts from Health MEC Sasekani Manzini. So far 28 Christmas babies have been born in different health facilities in the province.

Manzini has applauded the Shongwe hospital for contributing to a low infant mortality rate in the province. She says the hospital is doing well despite being located in a rural area.

“Where we are at Shongwe hospital, we have five babies – we have three males and two females and I can indicate that Shongwe hospital has delivered prematurely neonatal under 1000 grams and was discharged; which is a good thing for us because we are contributing to the low neonatal death rate, of which in this hospital is 2,5 against the provincial target of 10% and national which is 8,5.”

By lunchtime on Wednesday, about 61 babies were born so far across all five districts in Limpopo on Christmas Day. 38 of the babies are boys and 23 babies are girls.

Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba welcomed five newborn babies at Malamulele hospital. One of the new mothers at Malamulele hospital had this to say: “I am very happy to welcome my baby, I am happy that I delivered my baby girl. Her name is Kateko.”

Young and pregnant women

Meanwhile, the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department has called on communities to reject the paying of monies or damages to the families of young, pregnant women.

Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu made the comment during a visit to hospitals to welcome the province’s Christmas babies.

One of the new mothers is a 14-year-old girl. Simelane-Zulu says health, social and law enforcement officials must come together to enforce the law.

“The likelihood is that that child could have been impregnated at 13 and that is statutory rape. As the government of KwaZulu-Natal, we have taken a stand against gender-based violence. And we do want to call on our communities to stop this thing – accepting damages. Because we know that in other areas, once the perpetrator realises their victim is suddenly pregnant, they then suddenly go to the family and saying they are coming to pay damages. That is against the law.”