KZN health department blasts fireworks warning after injuries
A 12-year-old girl was among those injured by fireworks‚ prompting a warning from KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo.
At Pietermaritzburg’s Edendale Hospital - where Dhlomo was conducting a New Year’s Day visit to‚ among other things‚ visit mothers who gave birth on January 1 - seven people‚ including the unnamed 12-year-old girl‚ had to receive medical attention after they were injured during celebrations on Sunday night.
The girl injured her palm and two fingers‚ including losing the top of one‚ which will require surgery and rehabilitation if she is to regain maximum use of her hand.
A 48 year-old woman injured her thumb and index finger when a firecracker exploded in her hand‚ the health department said. She will lose the tip of her thumb.
MEC Dhlomo said: “We would like to urge the public to be careful when they handle fireworks. These injuries could have been avoided. We could have avoided having to book a theatre‚ and to have a team of nurses and doctors attend to these patients‚ if this had been handled properly.”
Dhlomo welcomed the arrival of 51 New Year’s Day babies‚ 25 boys and 26 girls‚ at public hospitals around the province.
But he expressed concerned about the number of young mothers who had New Year’s babies. He was adamant that the department would “continue waging war against sugar daddies and blessers”.
Two of the mothers - who gave birth at the Newcastle Provincial Hospital – were 14. Also among the province’s youngest New Year’s Day mothers are two 15-year-olds‚ one 16-year-old and three 17-year-olds.
“We wish to emphasise that there is no bonus for a teenager to fall pregnant. When someone who is aged under 18 falls pregnant‚ it poses a risk to the life of both the mother and her child. Most teenagers who fall pregnant don’t go back to school. Instead they give birth to more babies. Ultimately‚ they lose out in life. Young people who fall pregnant too early are also not giving a bright future for the children they give birth to. They perpetuate a cycle of poverty. It’s something that should not be happening‚” he said.
Dhlomo said that it has been established that young girls and women aged between 15 and 24 are at highest risk of getting infected with HIV‚ usually as a result of sexual relations with men who are much older than them.
Dhlomo said the province's anti-sugar daddy campaign had borne much fruit‚ having ignited a debate about this phenomenon.
“We have already had a number of young women talking about this. Some of them have had relationships with older men‚ and are now warning the young ones about the bad consequences of these inter-generational relationships‚” he said.
Dhlomo added that the “She Conquers” national campaign‚ launched by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa two years ago‚ will continue to be accelerated in the province.
“We are saying to young women‚ the men who sleep with them do not do so out of love‚ but out of lust. Our message is: ‘You don’t need someone who will come into your life and yield negative results.’ We will not stop these campaigns. We will continue engaging with young people.”
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