The City of Cape Town’s Health Department has welcomed a sharp drop in “surge season” cases, with fewer children admitted for pneumonia and diarrhoea than 12 months ago.
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The period between November and May is referred to as the “surge season”, as it traditionally coincides with an increase in such cases.
However, in November, the City’s data tracked fewer cases of diarrhoea, pneumonia and severe acute malnutrition in children under five years of age within the metropole.
“These are conditions which can have life threatening consequences for babies and children under the age of 5, especially if it is not diagnosed timeously and treated effectively,” said Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Patricia van der Ross. “Surge season has only just started, but we are heartened by the lower caseload.”
Van der Ross said that there were 2,205 recorded cases of diarrhoea in November last year, while this year it has dropped to 921 for the month.
“Likewise, cases of pneumonia have dropped from 1 161 to 780,” she said
“We cannot celebrate these figures as there are still six months to go with the hottest weather still ahead of us. These health risks are not only treatable, but preventable.”
The CoCT’s clinics are able to diagnose and treat diarrhoea, pneumonia, malnutrition and a host of other ailments affecting children.
Staff are also able to give guidance with nutrition, the lack of which plays a role in diarrhoea and malnutrition.
“Illnesses like malnutrition, pneumonia and diarrhea can have lasting effects on a child’s long term health and well-being. I want to encourage parents and caregivers to take advantage of the services available to keep their children healthy and safe,” Van der Ross added. “Don’t hesitate to seek help at your local clinic if you’re not sure. Early intervention can save a young child’s life.”
Apart from handwashing, parents and caregivers are advised to wash bottles, bowls, spoons and teats before feeding young children.
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