South Africa's Health Department has secured funding to the tune of 3.0 billion Rand (about 214 million USA dollars) to get communities involved in helping to curb teenage pregnancies and promote breast-feeding says Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi.

More efforts will also be directed at fighting the so-called "blessers" who abuse young girls, Motsoaledi said at a function at Winterveldt, north of Pretoria, to mark Global Prematurity Day.

He said teenage pregnancy and a lack of breast feeding were some of the major contributory factors of premature births and premature deaths of infants.

Through initiatives such as "She Conquers", the department is determined to overcome some of the challenges. The initiative is also intended to root-out the so-called notorious blessers who are known to sexually abuse young girls.

The Minister blamed blamed parents for not playing a meaningful role in reducing teenage pregnancy.

"So the attitude of parents has to do with this thing of teenage pregnancy, how many mothers discuss this with their children. It is a taboo in our culture; they are scared to talk about it. So in 'She Conquers', we are not just going to preach, we are going to be very direct. We have chosen 27 districts where this is very prevalent, we have already selected them."

The initiative is also receiving support from the global community while local non-governmental organizations )NGOs) believe the challenges posed by premature births can only be overcome through joint efforts.