Safe-sex campaign for teens
So concerned was Dr Kalli Spencer about the high number of pregnant teenagers he was attending to that he decided that he must raise awareness of the risks of underage pregnancy.
After noting that almost a quarter of the pregnant patients he treated at Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital's obstetrics unit were teenagers, Spencer said he could not sit back and "just hope" this would change.
"It's about going to the community and speaking to patients, to let them know the risks before we see them in the hospitals, when it's already too late."
Spencer, Gauteng chairman of the Junior Doctors' Association of SA, will visit schools during his free time to discuss sexual and reproductive health.
His campaign is to start in two weeks at Rand Girls' High School, Johannesburg.
Spencer, whose work will be unpaid, hopes that it "will cut down on our work in the long run".
He could not say how many pregnant teenagers he had treated but emphasised that young girls were not ready to be mothers or deal with health complications - their own or those of their babies.
"It's okay to have a baby that's normal and healthy, but it's not okay when you have a baby that's not healthy and you're a young teenager."
Spencer said he struggled to tell young girls that their child had died, or that they needed to have a hysterectomy.
"As a young mother, you're not prepared to handle that."
Spencer noted, while working in the paediatrics department of a hospital, that some children were malnourished because their teenaged parents could not afford to feed them and were not aware of the warning signs when a child was gravely sick.
"I will talk about the risks of pregnancy and having an abortion," he said.
Abstinence, condoms, contraceptive injections and tablets, and intrauterine devices would be part of his school assembly presentations.
His last word of advice: "Know who you are and know where you're going so that, when you have a child, you can give it direction."