Eight thousand baby deaths recorded in first half year

2010-12-20 08:45

 Some 8 000 babies died in the first five months of this year in South African hospitals, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said.

“At least 4 366 children under the age of a year died at national level. When the newborns are added, a total 8 001 deaths was recorded,” the minister said in a written reply to a parliamentary question, The Times newspaper reported today.

“The major causes of death are pneumonia (including tuberculosis), diarrhoea, prematurity, malnutrition, accidents during pregnancy, like bleeding and severe high blood pressure,” said Motsoaledi.

The babies died between January 1 and May 31.

Motsoaledi said that, in most instances, HIV infection was the underlying cause.

“Pneumonia is often associated with HIV infection, tuberculosis and unhealthy environments... There is a national ministerial committee of experts in child health which investigates the reported deaths.”

Statistics for Western Cape were not available because “the province was using a different system for data collection”.

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