Health of fe­male prison­ers given pri­or­ity

Cape Argus - - NEWS - Chelsea Geach STAFF RE­PORTER chelsea.geach@inl.co.za

and blind­ness.

Solomons, a pae­di­atric neu­rol­o­gist at Tyger­berg Hospi­tal, said while the early symp­toms were non-spe­cific and dif­fi­cult to de­tect, ad­e­quate im­ple­men­ta­tion of the ex­ist­ing in­te­grated man­age­ment of child­hood ill­ness (Imci) guide­lines at clinic level, “is ex­tremely use­ful for the early de­tec­tion and treat­ment ini­ti­a­tion of TB menin­gi­tis”.

In one of the stud­ies per­formed at Tyger­berg Hospi­tal, 70per­cent of chil­dren had po­ten­tial TB fea­tures and re­cent house­hold TB con­tact. But Solomons said only one of these pa­tients were cor­rectly iden­ti­fied as a likely TB pa­tient.

He blamed clin­ics for their fail­ure to de­tect TB, say­ing they were not pick­ing up on TB di­ag­no­sis early enough – re­sult­ing in many of these chil­dren get­ting severe forms of TB such as TB menin­gi­tis.

“Chil­dren with TB menin­gi­tis tend to have three or four con­tacts with health pro­fes­sion­als be­fore they come to me. There are many lost op­por­tu­ni­ties at the clinic.

“The thing that is of­ten missed in clin­ics is when chil­dren vomit but there is no di­ar­rhoea. Some­times it is mis­di­ag­nosed as gas­tro, but you can’t have gas­tro with only vom­it­ing with no di­ar­rhoea,” he said.

Solomons said per­sis­tent vom­it­ing could be a sign there was raised pres­sure in the brain – and this should worry care­givers. Sadly, par­ents were also not recog­nis­ing the symp­toms of TB menin­gi­tis such as poor weight gain, per­sis­tent cough­ing of more than two weeks, non-spe­cific symp­toms longer than five days, and con­tact with a TB pa­tient.

Solomons’s re­search also showed that chest X-rays did not nec­es­sar­ily de­tect pul­monary TB, and less than half of the TB menin­gi­tis pa­tients in his study had a chest X-ray de­tect­ing TB.

The most ef­fec­tive scor­ing cat­e­gories were cere­brospinal fluid find­ings, fol­lowed by clin­i­cal cri­te­ria and neuro-imag­ing find­ings. AS WOMEN’S Month draws to a close, one non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion is putting the spot­light on women’s health among Pollsmoor Prison in­mates.

Tokai-based Women Tak­ing Ac­tion of­fered free blood glu­cose screen­ing and pap smears at Pollsmoor Cor­rec­tional Cen­tre yes­ter­day.

Founder of the or­gan­i­sa­tion, Shirly Paulse, is on mis­sion to raise aware­ness about cer­vi­cal can­cer, which is the sin­gle most preva­lent can­cer among black South African women.

“We plan to roll this cam­paign out na­tion­ally and have con­fi­dence that this will raise aware­ness of the dis­ease and slowly lift the many myths sur­round­ing paps that pre­vail in our dis­ad­van­taged com­mu­ni­ties,” Paulse said.

“Cer­vi­cal can­cer has to com­pete for re­sources with dis­eases like HIV/Aids and tu­ber­cu­lo­sis and does not stand a chance of im­prov­ing if the pri­vate sec­tor does not step up to the plate and stand along­side our gov­ern­ment to make the change.”

WTA sec­re­tary Stacey Del­port said de­tect­ing the early warn­ing signs of cer­vi­cal can­cer was of ut­most im­por­tance – and for that you needed a pap smear.

Women Tak­ing Ac­tion’s pap smear cam­paign be­gan two months ago in Malmes­bury, where eight of the 150 women present opted to un­dergo the free pap smear and glu­cose test­ing.

Their sec­ond event, in At­lantis last month, was more suc­cess­ful. Of the 300 women who at­tended the aware­ness drive, 62 un­der­went the im­por­tant pap smear test.

“(It was) a huge in­crease and pos­si­bly the most pap smears ever done at a sin­gle screen­ing in the coun­try,” Del­port said.

Women Tak­ing Ac­tion has part­nered with Prece­dence Zuma, the head of Prece­dence Lab­o­ra­to­ries who has do­nated her time to speak­ing to women about pap smears and pro­cess­ing the tests.

PIC­TURES: BHEKI RADEBE

DANCE OF JOY: Pollsmoor in­mates per­formed dur­ing the pap smear cam­paign for dis­ad­van­taged women.

BET­TER HEALTH: Fe­male in­mates showed how much they en­joyed the af­ter­noon of well-be­ing and fes­tiv­i­ties.

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