The availability of a specialist service at Ceres and Robertson hospitals is making a big difference to the lives of children who have health challenges affecting their ears, nose, and throat. They can now make a quicker return to participating in activities at home, day-care, playschool, and the classroom because of the services of a part-time Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialist.
Since March this year patients from these areas have been referred to an ENT Specialist who provides part-time services at the hospitals. A specialist service like this is usually not provided at the level of district hospitals like those in Ceres and Robertson, but Western Cape Government Health and Wellness staff saw the need and grabbed the opportunity to make the part-time appointment. This means that our young patients can receive services quicker and closer to where they live.
With Child and Youth Month recently concluded, the Department is proud to say that so far, 15 children have benefitted from the service at Ceres Hospital, and 13 at Robertson Hospital. Adults are also referred to the ENT Specialist as needed, but the service is having an especially positive impact on the well-being of the children who are assisted. The first 1 000 days of life (the time between conception and the child’s second birthday,) is a crucial time of development for children. If a healthcare condition like chronic build-up of fluid in the inner ear is not addressed quickly, it can take the child longer to learn new words, to follow instructions and to participate in the classroom. In the long-term, this can have a very negative impact on the child.
One of the patients who was treated at Ceres Hospital, is four-year-old, Denash Titus. His mom, Ms Macheline Cloete, says initially Denash often had tonsilitis. She also noticed that his speech development was not as developed as other children his age. She took him to Bella Vista Clinic and after more investigation he was given a date to go to Tygerberg Hospital.
She was very happy when she was called with the news that her son could receive treatment in Ceres. “It was a very pleasant experience! His procedures were done in one surgery, and he has a follow-up date with Dr Post (the ENT Specialist) in September,” says Macheline. Denash recently had mumps, but otherwise he has been in good health since the procedure.
Dr Karlien Doubell, acting CEO of Ceres Hospital, says that besides his challenge of tonsilitis, healthcare workers also noticed delays in Denash’s speech development. With further investigations they determined he had fluid in the inner ear, impacting his ability to hear. He was referred to a hospital that offered the ENT Specialist service, but it would mean a waiting time of at least a year. However, the appointment of the part-time ENT Specialist at Ceres Hospital meant that Denash could be helped in no time in his hometown. In April his tonsils and adenoids were removed, and grommets were inserted.
“Four years of age is a peak time for speech development. For that you need your hearing. In his case we were able to intervene at least a year earlier than if we did not offer the service here,” says Dr Doubell.
The Department thanks healthcare workers who continually look for opportunities to adapt service delivery so that the well-being of patients is always top priority, especially our younger patients. We encourage parents, like Macheline, to quickly reach out for help if their young child is sick.