As many celebrated Christmas, the country welcomed hundreds of babies on the day in South Africa, with 389 of them being delivered at Gauteng’s public hospitals.
Gauteng MEC for Health Gwen Ramokgopa visited some of the newborn babies and their families at Kalafong Hospital and Laudium Community Healthcare Centre in Pretoria, bearing gifts for the infants.
Many mothers were accompanied by the father of their children, said Ramokgopa.
“Some of the fathers are with the mothers. I think it’s beautiful. “It shows that even at home they will be supported. Another important thing is to appreciate that the hospital works 24 hours and there is always someone on duty to support and manage the health services,” said Ramokgopa.
She reminded new mothers of the importance of breast feeding, advising them to breast feed exclusively for at least six months.
“The benefits of breast feeding are that babies receive nutrition, bonding and are resilient to diseases,” she said.
Two sets of twins were born at Dr George Mukhari Hospital and Tembisa Hospital, with the latter producing the majority of babies in the province.
This is followed by Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital with 16 infants, Rahima Moosa Mother and Child with 14 babies, Mamelodi hospital with eight and Hillbrow Community Healthcare Centre with six.
National department of health’s head of communication Popo Maja applauded healthcare workers and health professionals serving in the public sector.
KwaZulu-Natal had 87 new infants, North West stood at 72 with the first recorded being a girl delivered just after midnight at Job Shimankana Tabane Hospital in Rustenburg.
Limpopo welcomed at least 173 babies, Northern Cape had 52 and Eastern Cape stood at 61 Christmas babies, Maja said.
“We really would like to take the opportunity to thank our health professionals. A special thanks goes to those in our public healthcare facilities. Almost 95% of babies born in South Africa annually are delivered in public health facilities,” he said.
The country has 1.2 million babies delivered in both the public and private sectors in a year.