Dr: Take care of kids

2016-11-08 06:00
Dr Graeme Spittal, a paediatrician at the Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital encourages parents to take precautions (like washing hands regularly) during diarrhoea and pneumonia season.  PHOTO: SAMANTHA LEE

Dr Graeme Spittal, a paediatrician at the Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital encourages parents to take precautions (like washing hands regularly) during diarrhoea and pneumonia season. PHOTO: SAMANTHA LEE

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

As the surge season for two of the most common causes of infant death nears, a local doctor is urging parents to take preventative measures.

Cases of diarrhoea and pneumonia increases in surge season from November 2016 to May 2017.

In recent years, one in every 200 children in Mitchell’s Plain died from pneumonia and two in every 1000 died from diarrhoea.

But this need not continue, if the correct preventative measures are taken, says a local children’s doctor.

Recently appointed paediatrician Doctor Graeme Spittal works at the Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital and says he is passionate about healthcare and the community.

“One of the things I am passionate about is getting out to the community. We deal with illness all the time in the hospital, but the only way we are going to improve illness is to think about improving health. And that does not happen in the hospital, that happens in the community and in people’s houses,” says Spittal.

Although not unique to Mitchell’s Plain, he says in recent years much focus has been put on diarrhoea as the leading cause of baby deaths. But pneumonia has claimed many more lives.

“From a paediatric point of view, many children used to die from diarrhoea. Now, in many areas, but specifically in [Mitchell’s Plain], many more children are dying from pneumonia – three times more,” says Spittal.

He offers the following tips to help prevent these illnesses and improve children’s health overall:

. Breastfeed babies for at least the first six months of their lives.

. Do not smoke while pregnant or in the company of young children.

. Keep children’s immunisations up to date.

. Wash your hands regularly and follow clean guidelines when preparing food.

. Give children vitamin A and deworm them.

“The most important tip is not to wait too long with a sick child to access the healthcare services,” says Spittal.

Immunisations, deworming and vitamin A are available for free at clinics.

Nurses are also available to offer advice and additional tips on healthcare, says Spittal.

He encourages pre- and post-natal care to ensure the health of both the mother and baby.

“Keeping young children healthy improves their early childhood development, reduces the risk of long-term chronic diseases and improves both their physical and mental growth,” says Spittal.

Spittal has only been at the hospital for a short time and moved to South Africa after completing his studies in Scotland.

He became qualified as a paediatrician in 2013 and worked in KwaZulu-Natal and other parts of South Africa before settling at the Mitchell’s Plain Hospital this year.

“The paediatric ward is doing very well and is one of the best,” says Spittal.

He says the enthusiasm of the nursing staff has aided his passion and he hopes to continue on with the unit to help make a long-term impact in the area.

The paediatric team will be at the Mitchell’s Plain Festival doing demonstrations and giving more information on Saturday 26 November.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside the Gupta heist

2018-01-21 05:46

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.