Mediclinic ascribes to best medical practice in innovative childcare
Posted on 12 March 2020
Best medical practice in innovative childcare recommends regular screenings to help your child build a relationship with their doctor, for life.
“We meet our patients as they are born, and from that moment, we begin a journey together with them. Over time, we build a great deal of trust, both ways. There is history; there is a relationship, and there is some continuity to the care we provide.”
Dr Roshni Naicker is a paediatrician at Mediclinic Sandton who completed her specialist training at King Edward VIII, a teaching hospital for the University of KwaZulu Natal Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
“As a new mom or dad, you know when something isn’t quite right with your child,” she says. “But a close eye only goes so far. By encouraging your child to build an open, trusting relationship with their doctor, you are empowering them to think and talk about their own health.”
This is why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has developed a set of comprehensive health guidelines for optimal childcare, known as the Well Child periodicity schedule: a schedule of screenings and assessments recommended at each visit, from infancy through adolescence.
Importantly, this schedule begins at a child’s very first visit, within a few days of being born, and continues until a child reaches adolescence. “Every child is different, and trust is everything,” says Dr Naicker. “Some children have conditions that need constant monitoring, others don’t, but would prefer to maintain a relationship with a single doctor.”
The AAP’s Well Child principle establishes an internationally recognised set of comprehensive health guidelines for best practices in childcare, and Mediclinic paediatricians across South Africa provide one-on-one examinations in accordance with this programme.
These examinations are key in maintaining a child’s health through their lifetime, and are especially valuable for children with chronic conditions. “If your child has Type 1 diabetes, for example, they have to carry a lot of the responsibility for the treatment of their condition themselves. This is tough, and they need a support system. In that scenario, a paediatrician they can trust plays a vital role.”
Regular screenings can help a child understand how to maintain their health even when they aren’t ill, however. “For any child, the first year is crucial,” says Dr Naicker. “We like to see children often within the first 12 months, and even if they are well, we stay vigilant by seeing them every three months until they turn two. From about three years old, depending on their health status, we can stagger those visits to just once a year.”
The AAP advises that the Well Child principle plays a preventative role by providing your child with necessary immunisations and information on common concerns. The periodicity schedule also helps your doctor track your child’s growth and development, and ensures you have a family of experts to lean on in the event your child falls ill.
“Children develop so much, and so fast, in the first few years of their life. Parents can pick up quickly when something isn’t right, but they won’t always know how serious it is or what to do about it. That’s why these screenings are so useful – they give us oversight of a child’s development.”
It also gives your child a safe space in which to ask questions, learn and raise concerns. “Building a close relationship with your doctor, at any age, is essential to living a long and healthy life. The earlier you can do that, the better.”
Click here for a list of paediatricians at Mediclinic hospitals nationwide who provide screenings in accordance with Well Child principles.