Motswana girls are turning to local clinics and hospitals near the border to terminate pregnancies, the Limpopo health department said.
Shoki Mokobane, statistics and research population unit manager, said a survey by the department found there was an increase on number of teenage girls crossing the border to terminate pregnancies.
They come in large numbers to Lephalale hospital and neighbouring clinics for abortion, she said.
They said in their country it is not allowed to terminate pregnancy, it is regarded as crime.
Abortion opposed in Botswana
Mokobane said health officials helped the girls because South African policy had a directive that everybody should have access to health care.
She said the girls spent about three weeks in South Africa recovering from operations before returning to their country.
Botswana opposes the termination of pregnancy, while South Africa passed legislation in 1996 allowing it.
The research also revealed that mothers, particularly Zimbabweans, were abandoning their babies shortly after giving birth at Musina hospital.
Government budget stressed
The study was launched in September after the department noticed an increase in the consumption of health materials in border clinics and hospitals.
Mokobane said the research focused on three hospitals – Phalaborwa, Musina and Lephalele – at major entry points for immigrants.
She said the increase in foreigners in accessing South African health care was stressing the government budget.
(Sapa, November 2011)