Teenage pregnancies contribute significantly to the high number of premature babies in the country, according to the Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi.
He says the number of teenage pregnancies in South Africa is more than twice the global average.
Motsoaledi states that the majority of premature babies in South Africa are born by teenage mothers. This comes as the world commemorates World Prematurity Day on Saturday.
Globally, it’s estimated that 15 million babies are born pre-term each year, which is approximately one in 10 births. Motsoaledi says prematurity is not much of a medical issue, but a social issue in South Africa.
“The pregnancies we are calculating in our country is between 10 and 19-year-olds and our target is that only less than 5% of those must be pregnant. At the moment they are 13%, more than twice our target. In other words, we will sort of be satisfied that we are getting there if less than 5% of girls between ages of 10 and 19 fall pregnant, that body is too premature to carry a baby,” says Motsoaledi.