2019 Paediatric Child Health and Paediatric Surgery Update Well Attended
The Annual Paediatric Child Health and Paediatric Surgery Update was well attended and supported by KwaZulu-Natal paediatricians, registrars and general practitioners.
The update brings together UKZN academics, state and private paediatricians and pharmaceutical industry representatives to deliberate on important and relevant issues related to the care of neonates, children and adolescents.
Paediatricians from all the major sites of the decentralised teaching and service platform, including large hospitals in Empangeni and Newcastle, interacted enthusiastically with colleagues from Durban and Pietermaritzburg.
Convenor of the update, Dr Kimesh Naidoo said the update focused on several key themes important in the practice today including paediatric sepsis - now the number one cause of under five mortality; asthma and allergies; specific paediatric conundrums, and the need for paediatricians to take care of themselves.
UKZN’s Professor Refiloe Masekela opened the event and delivered the keynote address which dealt with her personal journey as specialist, sub-specialist, researcher and leader. Masekela also addressed the main plenary on the new asthma guidelines for children.
Dr Basil Enicker, Head of Neurosurgery at UKZN provided an update on diagnosing and managing cystic lesions in the brains of children. He emphasised the inter-professional and multi-disciplinary nature of care when dealing with these children.
There were updates on allergies by specialist paediatrician at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital, Dr Kumaran Moodley and paediatric Infectious disease sub-specialist at Pietermaritzburg’s Metropolitan Paediatric Department, Dr Fatima Naby, who spoke on managing infectious disease outbreaks as well sharing her recent experiences during her visit to Pakistan to study the country’s paediatric HIV outbreak.
Dr Despina Demopoulos, a paediatric intensivist based in Gauteng and an SA Paediatric Association executive member, spoke about her experiences and insights on using Pro-calcitonin in children as a marker of sepsis.
UKZN’s Paediatric Department also showcased its successful postgraduate specialist, sub-specialist and collaboration programme on the African continent. Two of its recent graduates, now training as paediatric specialists, delivered updates on managing murmurs in children and childhood autism.
The update also put the spotlight on Queen Nandi Mother and Child Hospital - a large hospital serving Area 3 and providing up to 14 ventilator beds - neonatal ICU beds which are often in short supply.
Dr Constant Kapongo spoke about his 20-year experience of managing very low birth weight babies ie babies born weighing less than 1.5kg , with the neonatal theme staying prominent with a neonatologist at King Edward VIII Hospital Dr Radhika Singh and Mrs Claire McHugh Dietician of the El Ballito Private Hospital, speaking on feeding in this very specific weight group.
Ms Tracy Brand of the Mduduzi Palliative Care Unit, an NGO which supports the large paediatric units across the province, spoke on resilience development among medical staff working with children ailing and/or dying.
Paediatric haematologist, Dr Yasmin Goga gave a talk on spirituality and children – a topic very rarely dealt with or previously considered.
Words: Lihle Sosibo