The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health welcomed 36 New Year’s Day babies by 8am on 1 January 2019.

The province’s health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo made an announcement on Tuesday at GJ Crookes Hospital in Scottburgh while he visited the new moms. “The province had welcomed 17 boys and 19 girls,” said Dhlomo.

He said it was however, a concern that most of the new mothers were of a very young age group. “At Addington Hospital, 24-year-old Sindisiwe Gumede gave birth to a set of boy twins. The two youngest mothers of New Year’s Day babies are aged 16, and gave birth at Ekhombe and Edendale Hospitals. There are also three mothers aged 18 who gave birth at Rietvlei, St Apollinaris and Emmaus Hospitals; and another three aged 19, whose babies were born at Nkandla, St Apollinaris and Edendale Hospitals. The oldest mother of the New Year’s Day babies in the province is aged 43, and gave birth at Edendale Hospital,” said Dhlomo.

He said that although GJ Crookes Hospital was concerned by the rate of teenage pregnancies in its catchment area, the department had developed a programme of community dialogues to heighten awareness about the benefits of abstinence, protected sex and the dangers of teenage pregnancy.