CAPE TOWN - South Africa’s Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla has welcomed the birth of 1 764 babies born at various health care facilities across the country on New Year’s Day.
He congratulated all parents on the safe arrival of their newborns and wished them good health.
The first baby to be born in the country was delivered at midnight at Shongwe Hospital in Mpumalanga by a 25-year-old mother.
The country has recorded more female births.
A total of 894 girls and 870 boys were born.
The health department said of the mothers who gave birth on New Year’s Day, 65 were teenage mothers between the ages of 13 and 19.
Phaahla has encouraged all mothers to consider exclusive breastfeeding for their babies for the first six months of life and ensure they get immunisations from birth.
He has also urged mothers not to forget to take their Road-To-Health-Booklet, previously known as a clinic card, to hospital or clinic as it keeps track of your child’s immunisation and shows doctors and nurses your child's growth.
“Babies need only milk feeds for the first six months of life, but milk continues to be an important source of nutrients to children after six months, therefore there is no need to put a time limit on feeds,” Phaahla said.
A child’s health is most vulnerable during the first 1000 days of their lives, and the right nutrition during this period can have a profound impact on a child's ability to develop and learn.
“Together, we can ensure that South Africa’s infants receive the care they need to survive and thrive. All unvaccinated and partly vaccinated mothers are urged to vaccinate against Covid-19 as it is safe to vaccinate and breastfeed. For more information on how to raise a healthy child, access Side-by-Side – a campaign for pregnant women and caregivers of children younger than five years old,” Phaahla added.
Side-by-Side can be accessed on https://sidebyside.co.za.