Don't make September babies, KZN health MEC tells youngsters

2016-12-22 13:43
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Durban – Youngsters should not have sex during December, or they should use extra contraception if they do, KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo warned on Thursday.

This is so that they don't become part of the province's "September baby" phenomenon.

According to the department, an analysis of data between 2013 and 2015 showed that KwaZulu-Natal hospitals recorded more deliveries of babies during September than in any other month.

The department said this meant most babies were conceived during the December holidays.

Dhlomo, a qualified medical doctor, said he was concerned that out of the one million babies born countrywide each year, 8%, or 80 000, are delivered by teenagers.

"We are always concerned – not just in December, but in any time of the year, when young people fall pregnant at a young age because it is very unsafe.

"If you're a young person under the age of 18, and you're delivering a child weighing 3.8kg for instance, chances of delivering safely are slim. It actually places the mother's own life and the baby's in danger."

'Let's talk about sex'

Dhlomo said the department was appealing to young people to pause and consider the consequences of their actions.

"We are saying to them, '[Do not allow temporary fun] during the holidays to disturb your progress in life. If you have unprotected sex now, you will be a mother come September'."

He also warned that unprotected sex could lead to contracting a sexually transmitted infection or even HIV/Aids.

"Also, research has shown that people who have unplanned babies at a young age are likely to have even more children and they are at risk of dying way before their time," Dhlomo said.

He encouraged the public to speak about sex openly, saying it could lead to a discussion that might prevent "life-altering and deadly consequences.

"This is something that all of us as society, including community leaders and educators in the classroom, need to begin to talk to our children about. We must not pretend that by keeping quiet, children will not have sex."  

He added that those who could not abstain from sex should be encouraged to use dual protection by using male or female condoms as well as other contraceptives such as hormonal injections and the pill.

Read more on:    sibongiseni dhlomo  |  durban  |  health care

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