KwaZulu-Natal had welcomed a total 100 babies by 4pm on Christmas day. These were made up of 52 girls and 48 boys.
Fikile Mnguni (34) gave birth to the first Christmas baby at Mseleni Hospital, in uMkhanyakude, shortly after the stroke of midnight.
While welcoming the Christmas babies during her briefing on Friday afternoon, MEC Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu expressed her concerns that the province had at least four mothers who were under 18 years old.
“One of the babies was fathered by a 26 year-old man, which reveals a nine-year age gap. Bear in mind, the 17 year-old mother would have been a little over 16 years old when she fell pregnant,” she said.
Simelane-Zulu said the Department of Health Department, took the issues surrounding sexual reproductive health very seriously and that was the reason a number of contraceptive options were made freely accessible. “But, the fact that we are, once again, seeing these young girls falling pregnant at such a young age is cause for concern.
“It’s a grim reminder of the work that we still need to do to ensure that family planning is in the mainstream of what we do.”
She said this also posed a challenge to parents and guardians to actively talk to their children about sex, condoms, and to promote family planning in general.She said in 2020, it should no longer be a taboo for parents to give their daughters condoms, or for young women to be seen carrying condoms in their bags.
“Generally, we always urge young people to abstain from sex. But we urge those who have decided they want to get involved in this sexual mshikashika (activity) to condomise at all times.”
Simelane-Zulu said there were both female and male condoms available.She also opened up about how she speaks to her 19-year-old daughter everyday about the benefits of using condoms.
“I even buy them for her, because I don’t want her to turn around tomorrow and say I did not tell her the truth.
“That’s the responsibility we have towards our children. But beyond that, our brothers and sisters… everybody… must have condoms in their bags. It is not a disgrace,” said Simelane-Zulu.