Heal­ing is Naeema’s joy

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO NEWS - Or­rin Singh

‘IT takes a dif­fer­ent type of med­i­cal prac­ti­tioner to be a pae­di­a­tri­cian, be­cause you’re not only work­ing with some­one’s child, but also with the par­ents as well.’

This is the view of Dr Naeema Sheik, a pae­di­atrics spe­cial­ist who re­cently started her own pri­vate prac­tice at Melomed Hospi­tal.

The Univer­sity of KwaZulu-Na­tal (UKZN) grad­u­ate (2004) joined the team at the Queen Nandi Re­gional Hospi­tal, pre­vi­ously known as the Lower Um­folozi War Memo­rial Hospi­tal, in 2016 where she worked in the pae­di­atric unit and was also elected as re­gional co­or­di­na­tor for Emer­gency Triage As­sess­ment and Treat­ment (ETAT). She had pre­vi­ously com­pleted her spe­cial­ist train­ing at UKZN in 2015.

The vi­brant, pas­sion­ate and bub­bly Dr Sheik said her love for pae­di­atrics started dur­ing her years of com­mu­nity ser­vice, the year af­ter her internship.

‘Deal­ing with chil­dren is far more com­pli­cated than deal­ing with adults, in the sense that chil­dren do not fully un­der­stand where the source of their pain comes from and have to de­scribe the type of pain they’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing.

‘To de­velop that rap­port with a child takes time. It’s not like with an adult when you ask them to sit on the bed for ex­am­i­na­tion and they do it im­me­di­ately. With a child you need to de­velop a re­la­tion­ship so that they trust you and al­low you to touch them.

‘When you ask a child where their pain is, they al­most al­ways point to their ab­domen. Their tummy is sore no mat­ter where the pain is,’ she laughed.

While her job can be full of joy and up­lift­ment, Dr Sheik ad­mit­ted that work­ing with chil­dren makes it all that more dif­fi­cult when noth­ing more can be done to help them.

‘It is very trau­matic to break the bad news to a par­ent and it never gets eas­ier. Who wants to hear that?’

She said a crit­i­cal part of her job is to iden­tify a prob­lem and re­fer her pa­tients very quickly when needed.

‘Many of my pa­tients need sub­spe­cial­ists, so it is vi­tal to iden­tify what the prob­lem is and re­fer them as soon as pos­si­ble.’

Tra­di­tional medicine

Ed­u­cat­ing the lo­cal com­mu­nity on the use of tra­di­tional medicines is an­other pas­sion Dr Sheik feels strongly about.

‘I re­ally want to ed­u­cate the com­mu­nity about the use of tra­di­tional medicines, I have seen chil­dren in the past die be­cause of tra­di­tional medicine.

‘You find that it’s es­pe­cially the grand­moth­ers who use these medicines.

‘Things have changed over the years, medicines have changed and hu­man’s im­mune sys­tems have changed.

‘Some­thing that worked in the past might not nec­es­sar­ily work now and it’s im­por­tant that the com­mu­nity know and un­der­stand this.

‘Ed­u­ca­tion is key be­cause if peo­ple don’t know, they are go­ing to con­tinue do­ing it so we have to change their mind­sets,’ she said.

Or­rin Singh

Lo­cal pae­di­a­tri­cian Dr Naeema Sheik with a quick smile dur­ing a rou­tine ex­am­i­na­tion of this lit­tle man at Melomed Hospi­tal

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