Health minister scrubs up, delivers baby
Reneilwe Aaronica Mashitisa has been named after the doctor who delivered her yesterday morning - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.
The minister, who last practised medicine 16 years ago, scrubbed up in the main theatre at Mankweng Hospital, near Polokwane, Limpopo, to mark the day the world's population reached 7billion.
"My name is Aaron, she will be Aaronica," he said shortly after the 2.8kg girl was born.
Aaronica's birth was used by Motsoaledi as a symbolic marker of the world-population milestone.
Wearing white boots, a surgeon's cap and blue "scrubs", Motsoaledi performed a "bikini-cut" Caesarian section on Elizabeth Mashitisa, 38, who has two other children.
"The young lady must still go to the beach," he said.
Dr Davhana Nesengani, who assisted Motsoaledi, praised his technique.
The UN Population Agency has called on the world's 193 countries to mark the milestone.
The deputy director of the agency in South Africa, Mark Schreiner, said: "I wonder if there's another country where the health minister would scrub up to deliver a baby."
The agency predicts that, by 2025, the world population will be 8billion.
After Motsoaledi delivered Aaronica he performed another procedure on her mother - a tubal ligation to prevent her from having more children.
At a briefing afterwards, Motsoaledi said he despaired at the large number of children born by accident.
"Eighty percent [of mothers] say it was not really planned, 'it just happened'," he said. "Let every birth be a safe and planned birth."
By conservative estimate, about 700000 abortions were performed at state medical facilities between 1997 and 2008.
But Motsoaledi said the actual number could be closer to a million.