Thirty-seven babies were born on Christmas Day at Rob Ferreira Hospital in Mbombela.

Most of them, 21, were boys.New mom Martha Msimang is ecstatic over her girl.

“I’m very happy for the gifts for my baby, she has not yet been named. I am waiting for her father to name her. She’s special. She is my first born,” said 21-year-old Msimang.

Health MEC Gillion Mashego visited the hospital to greet the new parents and their babies.

“As we welcome these new babies, we, as the province, are proud to announce that we are winning the war on HIV. People are testing [for HIV] in numbers. The stigma is going away and our children are not dying at birth,” said Mashego.

He used the opportunity to urge people not to drink and drive because the chances are that, if they suffer broken bones, they’d join a backlog of orthopaedic cases.

“I personally went to KwaMhlanga Hospital and I was shocked because things are not well. Accidents, which mainly involve the use of alcohol, has created a burden to fix broken bones, which requires orthopaedic surgeons,” he said.

“Being a rural province we are failing to attract specialists,” he said.

He said orthopaedic specialists were only available at Rob Ferreira, Themba and Mapulaneng hospitals in the Ehlanzeni region.

By Christmas Day, 400 patients were waiting for orthopaedic surgery.

This is down from 3 000 at the beginning of the year.

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