More than 500 babies were born on Christmas Day 2023 across South Africa, the Department of Health has confirmed.
The first baby was a healthy baby girl delivered at midnight at Galeshewe Day Hospital in the Northern Cape, followed by a baby boy welcomed at 12:02am at Harry Gwala Regional Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal.
Then a minute later at 12:03am at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital in Eastern Cape another baby was born, and a minute after that at 12:04am at West End Community Health Centre, also in the Eastern Cape, the fourth baby was born.
Almost 40% of all the babies born on Christmas day were from Gauteng health facilities which recorded 194 births, with the next largest batch of babies born in KwaZulu-Natal facilities.
The Health Department also urged mothers to prioritise exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first six months to two years of the baby’s life to enable them to achieve optimal growth and development, and also enjoy a long, safe and healthy journey of life.
In a statement on Tuesday, the department also urged all mothers and caregivers to ensure their newborns remain up to date with immunizations with regards to Road-to-Health Booklet, also known as the clinic card, to protect them against life-threatening childhood diseases such as polio, measles and smallpox.
The statement signed by the department’s spokesperson Foster Mohale also noted that it is important for parents to ensure that their babies are registered for birth certificates within 30 days after birth to avoid late registrations.
To make it more convenient for parents to register their children within 30 days, the Department of Home Affairs has set up 161 offices at public hospitals and selected clinics as part of government’s efforts to promote early birth registration.