Girls as young as 14 years of age were among mothers who gave birth to New Year’s Day babies in Eastern Cape’s public facilities.
Despite expressing her concern at the high number of minor girls giving birth, MEC Nomakhosazana Meth hailed the births as “blessings”. In total, 104 girls and 96 boys were delivered at state institutions in the province on January 1.
“We are blessed to have so many bundles of joy. We congratulate the mothers, doctors, midwives, nurses and other healthcare workers on safe delivery of these precious gifts from God,” said Meth.
The Eastern Cape health department confirmed in a statement that MEC confirmed that Of the new mothers, 49 are girls aged 14-19 years old while 151 are women aged 20 and older.
In total 200 babies were born on the day, 39 fewer than on 2023 New Year’s Day.
“We are, however, concerned that little girls continue falling pregnant and giving birth every year,” Meth added.
“We are calling on everyone to play their part in fighting unplanned pregnancy and teenage pregnancy. Even though a child is never a curse but is always a blessing, we continue to talk to our people to say let’s try and teach our you ones to wait a bit until they are ready for these gifts so that they become the full joy they are supposed to be,” Meth added.
The first New Year’s Day baby in the Eastern Cape on New Year’s Day was a boy, delivered at 12.10am at Mount Ayliff Hospital in emaXesibeni (formerly Mount Ayliff).
More babies for poorer districts
The rural districts of the former Transkei, OR Tambo 43 and Alfred Nzo registered the highest number of births in the province – 43 and 32 respectively.
Meanwhile Gauteng, the province with the highest population in South Africa, saw the delivery of 412 newborns – 200 males and 212 females – on January 1.
The health department revealed that among the mothers in the province were 16 teenagers aged 16 to 19.