Paediatric Research Insights shared at UKZN Update

UKZN’s Update for Paediatrics and Paediatric Surgery (UPPS 2022) at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital was an opportunity to share knowledge in this field.

The two-day conference was convened by the head of the Clinical Unit in Paediatrics at King Edward VIII hospital, Dr Kimesh Naidoo and Head of Discipline: Paediatrics and Child Health at UKZN, Professor Refiloe Masekela. The programme consisted of a series of workshops focusing on topics such as cardiology, critical care: ventilation and allergies. Other topics covered at the conference included neurology, neonatology and infectious diseases. Invited speakers included Professor Heather Zar from the University of Cape Town who presented a lecture on the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in children and Dr Omolemo Kitchin from the Paediatric Management Group who provided tips to starting in Paediatric Private Practise.

In the critical care and ventilation workshop, Dr Shivani Singh, Ms Ronnelle Walker and Dr Martie Wege highlighted the need to follow the correct procedures during ventilation and to remain calm at all times.

Drs Visva Naidoo, Reratilwe Mphahlele, Kumaran Mosley, and Erica Goldstone ran the allergy workshop that focused on allergies. This session provided practical guidelines to test selection in allergic children and gave a practical workshop on skin prick testing.

‘Skin prick testing provides information on the presence of a specific IgE protein and peptide antigens (allergens). It’s an excellent diagnostic tool as its cost effective, the results are available immediately and tests can be performed in a consultation room,’ said Goldstone.

Specialist in Neonatology, Dr Zakithi Mathenjwa’s presentation focused on congenital syphilis. ‘Syphilis is one of the oldest known infections. A vaccine has not yet been found but syphilis control programmes rely on diagnosis and treatment. In South Africa, screening such as Rapid Plasma Reagin (RPR) and benzathine benzylpenicillin for treatment are recommended during pregnancy,’ she said.

Dr Nozi Voxeka, Paediatric Neurologist at the Pietermaritzburg Hospital Complex said that headaches are the most frequent neurological symptom among children. Her recent study estimated an overall prevalence of around 58.4% in the paediatric population.

UKZN dermatologist, Dr Gillian Lawrie presented an update on common paediatric skin conditions and possible remedies. She noted that, ‘common neonatal rashes include neonatal cephalic pustulosis, neonatal acne, neonatal villas and atopical eczema. The best treatment is general measures such as avoiding allergens, basic bath practices and moisturising, topical steroids and antihistamine.’

Specialist in Paediatrics, Dr Nomgcobo Mzizana shared an update on Heated Humidified High Flow Nasal Cannula (HHHFNC) in neonates and the difference it is making in neonatology. She explained that, ‘Heated Humidified High Flow Nasal Cannula is a form of non-invasive respiratory support that uses conditioned gas flow (heated and humidified) at flow rates that meet respiratory demand applied via small nasal cannula.’

The workshop was well received by medical professionals from KwaZulu-Natal representing the district, regional and provincial hospitals. It was sponsored by PPS, RCA, Ampath Laboratories, National Bioproduct Institute, Futurelife, AstraZeneca, Medical Protection, Safeline Pharmaceutical, Immunospec, Abela Africa Medical, ICA Respiratory Africa and SANOFI.

Words: Mandisa Shozi and Lihle Sosibo

Photographs: College of Health Sciences