KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu has raised concerns over the high rate of teenage pregnancies in the province. By 2pm on Christmas, 87 babies had been delivered in the province. They include 44 girls and 43 boys.
Four of these babies were delivered to teenage mothers, who were younger than 18 years old.
Simelane-Zulu is appealing to parents to talk to their children about the risks of falling pregnant at a young age.
She did, however, welcome babies delivered on Christmas day. The first baby was delivered at Emseleni Hospital in northern KwaZulu-Natal just after midnight.
Simelane-Zulu believes the department also has to put more efforts into sex education.
“To put up my concern that at least four of the mothers that gave birth today are under the age of 18. Two 16-year-old mothers gave birth at Dundee and Bethesda hospitals respectively and two 17-year-old mothers have birth at Benedictine Hospital. Now this is a matter I raised last year as well and we continue to raise it. This is something we are worried about. We are worried about teenage pregnancy, we are worried about the fact that maybe our sexual reproductive health messaging is not getting the receipt that it should be getting amongst our young girls. It means we need to understand our game.”
Avoiding social gatherings
Simelane-Zulu has encouraged people to avoid social gatherings as the second wave of COVID-19 continues to spread. The province has reported over 4 500 new cases in the last 24 hours.
She sounded an appeal to communities to refrain from attending super spreader gatherings like funerals and even traditional ceremonies.
“I must indicate firstly that 4 000 is the biggest number in one day that as a province we have ever registered. During the first wave, our highest number of infection in the province of KZN was about 3 900; now that we have surpassed 4 000 in just a few weeks. It tells you the amount of trouble that we faced with as this particular province. That is why it is important for everyone again to avoid large crowds, wear their masks correctly at all times.”
A new normal as KZN beaches remain closed for Christmas and Boxing Day: