Paediatric surge season warning

2018-11-08 06:00
Dr Nomafrench Mbombo cradles the 16-day-old baby of Philiswa Xaki (right) during her visit to Nomzamo on Monday. Health-care worker Yonela Nyathela was also present. PHOTO: Velani Ludidi

Dr Nomafrench Mbombo cradles the 16-day-old baby of Philiswa Xaki (right) during her visit to Nomzamo on Monday. Health-care worker Yonela Nyathela was also present. PHOTO: Velani Ludidi

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In a bid to create awareness of what is known as the paediatric surge season, provincial health minister Dr Nomafrench Mbombo visited homes in Nomzamo earlier this week.

Residents of Nomzamo were informed of an expected increase in diarrhoea, especially among children under age 5 during paediatric surge season from November to May. During her visit on Monday 5 November, Mbombo urged parents to be on the lookout for warning signs.

“Over the past five years, we have been able to reduce the number of deaths associated with diarrhoea in the province,” she said.

“However, the peak in reported diarrhoea cases over summer remains a concern for the provincial health department.”

During the 2017-’18 season, more than one million children were treated for the disease in the Western Cape, Mbombo revealed. “The interventions have managed to keep the death toll relatively low, but we need communities to work with us,” she said, adding that the most affected areas are those with poor infrastructure and lack of access to clean water and good sanitation.

Mbombo also used her visit as an opportunity to launch a new detailed clinic card which will help parents detect possible diarrhoea symptoms in their children earlier.

“The previous card focused only on immunisation, while the new card has more information for caregivers to identity the symptoms in time,” Mbombo related.

“This may help in the process of getting assistance for the ill child, so parents will not have to wait for the child to be weighed at the clinic for them to see the child needs help.”

The home of Philiswa Xaki, mother of a 16-day-old infant, was one of several visited by Mbombo. The 32-year-old said: “The information on the [new clinic] card is very helpful, because I did not know about the shoelace ‘trick’, which I can use to measure my child and confirm whether he is growing well. I did not expect to be visited by Mbombo and, I must say, I received very valuable information.”

Thina Sidumo (28) believes the newly introduced clinic card will not just provide her with crucial information to aid her in taking care of her child, but also save her time.

“I will make fewer trips to the clinic with my baby, because I sometimes go for things I realise I could have attended to myself if I had the correct information,” she said.

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