Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Child Health]]> vol. 16 num. 2 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>South Africa regains polio-free status: Processes involved and lessons learnt</b>]]> The World Health Organization recommends continuous immunisation coverage and polio surveillance standards for countries to sustain a polio-free status. We highlight experiences and lessons learnt by South Africa (SA) in losing - and subsequently regaining - its polio-free status. Following some decline in achieving acute flaccid paralysis surveillance and immunisation coverage targets, SA had its polio-free status withdrawn in 2017. Existing gaps were addressed and the polio-free status was regained in 2019. Lessons learnt from this experience include reaffirming the importance of continued commitment to polio eradication efforts, strengthening health systems through quality improvement projects, ensuring accountability in supervision, and monitoring of polio-related indicators. Consistent political commitment, collaboration and accountability are critical in sustaining the country's health programmes, including maintaining a polio-free status and closing identified gaps. <![CDATA[<b>Paediatric gastrointestinal endoscopy: Experience in Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Endoscopy is an important diagnostic and therapeutic mode of management in children with gastrointestinal disorders OBJECTIVE: To determine the indications, endoscopic yields and impact of the service on the ongoing health and complications among children who underwent gastrointestinal endoscopy at Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital, Cape Town METHODS: A 10-year (2007 - 2016) retrospective study of children <18 years old who underwent gastrointestinal endoscopy was undertaken using relevant patients' variables obtained from their hospital medical records. Data were analysed using Stata 13.1 (p<0.05 RESULTS: A total of 402 children underwent a total of 695 gastrointestinal endoscopic procedures: 592 (85.2%) were gastroscopies, 78 (11.2%) combined gastroscopies with colonoscopies and 25 (3.6%) colonoscopy-only procedures, respectively. The main diagnostic indications for gastroscopy, gastroscopy combined with colonoscopy and colonoscopy-only were chronic abdominal pain (n=49; 12.2%), suspected inflammatory bowel disease (n=30; 7.5%) and rectal bleeding (n=13; 52.0%) respectively. The most common therapeutic indication for gastroscopy was change of a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (n=143; 35.6%) while for colonoscopy 6 (5.8%) had polypectomy. Abnormal histopathological results were made from both macroscopically normal- and abnormal-looking tissues, though with no statistically significant relationship CONCLUSION: Endoscopy offers diagnostic and therapeutic options in children. Positive histological findings were obtained in some cases where gastrointestinal mucosae appeared normal. There is need to obtain biopsies from both macroscopically normal- and abnormal-looking gastrointestinal mucosae as positive histological findings could be made from them and hence improve diagnostic yield <![CDATA[<b>Male partners' experiences of early pregnancy ultrasound scans in Soweto, South Africa: The Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Baby randomised trial</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Despite international evidence highlighting the benefits of male partners attending antenatal visits, including pregnancy ultrasound scans, it is unusual for South African (SA) men to attend such visits, and little is known about their experiences if they do OBJECTIVES: To explore the experiences and antenatal attachment among male partners who attend early pregnancy ultrasound examinations in Soweto, SA METHODS: Pregnant women attending ultrasound examinations were invited to bring their partners with them. Both completed individual questionnaires, including the antenatal attachment scale. The results are based on a descriptive analysis of 102 mother-partner pairs RESULTS: The mean age of partners was 35 years. Only 32% of men were living with their pregnant partner. Before the ultrasound scan, 64% of men reported feeling very anxious, while 54% also felt anxious after the procedure. The ultrasound examination had a positive effect on men and their thoughts regarding their developing baby, with 30% stating that they were ready or excited to be a father. Twenty-eight percent believed their relationship with the mother was stronger as a result of participating in antenatal care CONCLUSIONS: We found that prenatal ultrasound scans had a positive effect on male partners and their thoughts about the pregnancy, their forthcoming child and their relationship with and support for their partner. Health services in SA should accommodate partners/ fathers and encourage them to attend antenatal care, including pregnancy ultrasound scans. Interventions are needed to encourage more men to be involved - from conception - potentially addressing individual, familial, societal and structural barriers to involvement of the father in long-term maternal and child care <![CDATA[<b>Training, confidence and knowledge of healthcare workers with regard to HIV and infant feeding in eThekwini, South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Healthcare workers play an important role in educating mothers living with HIV regarding appropriate infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices. However, it is not known if healthcare workers in eThekwini, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), have been adequately trained regarding IYCF in the context of HIV and how knowledgeable and confident they are OBJECTIVES: To assess the training, confidence and knowledge of healthcare workers regarding IYCF in the context of HIV METHODS: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study, which used a self-administered questionnaire developed for this survey. Healthcare workers (n=188), primarily doctors and nurses in antiretroviral, antenatal and paediatric departments at three regional hospitals (Addington Hospital, Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital and RK Khan Hospital) in eThekwini, KZN, participated RESULTS: Only 47.3% (n=89) of the participants had attended formal training on IYCF in the context of HIV. Most participants (n=171; 91.4%) felt they required more training. The mean overall confidence score of the group was 4.54 (standard deviation (SD) 1.28)%. The mean knowledge score of participants regarding IYCF in the context of HIV was 51.7%. The attendance of training did not equate to improved knowledge scores CONCLUSIONS: Although the healthcare workers were confident with counselling on IYCF in the context of HIV, their knowledge levels were lower than expected. This could be attributed to a lack of training or outdated or inefficient training. There is a need to improve the coverage and quality of IYCF and HIV training. Training courses should address behaviour change and test for understanding <![CDATA[<b>Moderate to severe neonatal encephalopathy with suspected hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy in cooled term infants born in Tygerberg Academic Hospital: Characteristics of fetal monitoring and modifiable factors</b>]]> BACKGROUND: In South Africa, in babies >2 500 g, intrapartum asphyxia is the main cause of neonatal death or stillbirth in those who were alive prior to labour. In a developing population, -60% of neonatal encephalopathy (NE) has evidence of intrapartum hypoxic ischaemia. Therapeutic hypothermia for term babies born with NE can improve neonatal prognosis and long-term survival OBJECTIVES: To identify the healthcare worker- and system-related modifiable factor(s) that were associated with NE in babies of >36 weeks' gestation born at Tygerberg Hospital (a secondary/tertiary referral hospital) between 1 January 2016 and 30 December 2018 METHODS: This was an observational cross-sectional study analysing data from the Tygerberg Hospital Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy database, the electronic labour ward register, the mortality database and clinical data from patient folders RESULTS: A total of 118 babies were admitted for head cooling, and therefore included in the study. The hospital in-born rate for serious encephalopathy is 5.5/1 000 in singleton live-born babies (9/1 000 rate for live-born deliveries >36 weeks). A sentinel event was identified in 19 (16%) cases. Delay in accessing theatre was the main system-related modifiable factor (25/58 or 43% of cases delivered by emergency caesarean delivery). The average decision-to-incision time was 1 hour 40 minutes, while the average bed occupancy in the emergency maternity centre was 102%. Failure to recognise or respond to an abnormal cardiotocograph was the dominant avoidable factor related to healthcare workers in 34 cases (36.4% CONCLUSION: Babies born with severe NE place a burden on parents, healthcare staff and resources. Careful intrapartum care, including utilisation of protocols for the use of oxytocin, are imperative. It is recommended that improved access to emergency theatres and appropriately trained staff for maternity units should be a priority for healthcare planners <![CDATA[<b>Primary hyperoxaluria: The Baragwanath experience</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Primary hyperoxaluria (PH) is a rare autosomal recessive condition characterised by defects in the metabolism of glyoxylate which leads to excess oxalate production. It is an important disease to diagnose as it can progress to kidney failure (KF OBJECTIVE: To describe the characteristics, diagnosis and management of PH in South Africa and to identify any determinants of KF and death METHOD: A retrospective study of all children younger than 16 years of age, diagnosed with PH at the Paediatric Renal Unit, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, from 1984 - 2017 RESULTS: A total of 24 patients were identified, of which 20 records were available for complete analysis. The median age of presentation was 6.0 years. The common clinical presentations were urolithiasis (90%), KF (85%), nephrocalcinosis (75%), urinary tract infections (55%) and haematuria (30%). Nephrocalcinosis was better detected on abdominal radiograph compared with ultrasonography. Both nephrocalcinosis (p=0.009) and haematuria (p=0.018) were significantly associated with KF. Five patients had A112D genetic mutation in the AGXT. Fourteen received dialysis and four were transplanted. The mortality rate in this study was 58.3% CONCLUSION: Clinicians should have a high index of suspicion for PH in patients presenting with haematuria, urolithiasis and KF. This study supports the measurement of urine oxalate levels and abdominal radiographs in screening for PH in children presenting in KF <![CDATA[<b>Infant injuries treated at Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Infants are entirely dependent on their caregivers, especially <6 months old when they are not yet mobile. While the epidemiology of injury among children in general has been described, the exact causes of infant injury have never been investigated in South Africa (SA OBJECTIVE: To describe causes of injury in infants aged <12 months, stratified for the four quarters of the first year of life, in order to identify opportunities for targeted prevention strategies based on local data METHODS: This retrospective audit study used data collected by ChildSafe SA from the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital in Cape Town, SA, over a 4-year period from January 2013 to December 2016. Infants <1 year of age presenting to the hospital's trauma casualty department were included. Additionally, mortuary data on traumatic infant deaths in the hospital's catchment area were collected. RESULTS: A total of 2 279 injured infants were identified. More than half were male (55%; n=1250) and the median age was 8 months (interquartile range 5-10 months). Leading causes of injury were falls (42%; n=957) and burns (32%; n=736). A significant association between the age group and the cause of injury (p<0.001) was found. From 2014 to 2016, an additional 27 infants were traumatically injured and died before arriving at the hospital CONCLUSION: Falls and burns are a significant contributor to the burden of infant injuries in Cape Town. This underlines the urgent need for targeted prevention strategies to improve safety, taking poverty into account <![CDATA[<b>The trajectory of general movements from birth until 12-14 weeks corrected age in very low-birthweight and extremely low-birthweight infants born preterm</b>]]> BACKGROUND: General movement assessment (GMA) is an assessment tool with high predictive validity for neurodevelopmental outcomes in preterm infants. Information available describing the trajectory of general movements (GMs) in high-risk preterm-born infants and the use thereof in low- and middle-income countries is limited OBJECTIVE: To describe the trajectories of GMs from birth until 12 - 14 weeks' corrected age, and determine the association of known perinatal risk factors on GM trajectories in very low-birthweight and extremely low-birthweight preterm infants METHODS: This was a longitudinal, prospective cohort study with 119 preterm infants born at <33 weeks' gestation and with a birthweight <1 500 g. GMs were recorded at four key age periods: 1-2 weeks after birth to 33 weeks post menstrual age (PMA); 34 - 37 weeks PMA; term equivalent age (TEA); and 12 - 14 weeks corrected age. Detailed perinatal data were collected RESULTS: A total of 300 GMAs were conducted, 157 during the preterm age, 55 during TEA and 88 at 12 - 14 weeks corrected age. At <33 weeks PMA, 96% of GMs were abnormal and 4% normal. At 34 - 37 weeks PMA, 89% of GMs were abnormal and 11% normal. All GMs recorded at term equivalent age were abnormal. At 12 - 14 weeks corrected age, 7% of GMs were abnormal and 93% normal CONCLUSION: GMs were predominantly abnormal prior to term with a significant decrease in abnormality at 12 - 14 weeks corrected age. Lower birthweight and lower PMA were associated with increased odds for abnormal GMs. In a resource-constrained environment, observing GMs at 12 - 14 weeks corrected age (during the fidgety period) is a time- and cost-effective method to determine the risk for adverse neuro development <![CDATA[<b>Anaemia, iron and vitamin A status among South African school-aged children living with and without HIV</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Data on iron and vitamin A deficiency are scarce in school-aged children living with HIV (HIV+) compared with children without HIV (HIV-). Both deficiencies can contribute to anaemia OBJECTIVE: To assess anaemia, iron and vitamin A status in a sample of HIV+ and HIV- school-aged children in South Africa METHODS: In this comparative cross-sectional study, biomarkers for anaemia (haemoglobin), iron (plasma ferritin (PF), soluble transferrin receptor), vitamin A (retinol-binding protein (RBP)) and inflammatory status (C-reactive protein, a-1-acid glycoprotein) were measured in 8 - 13-year-old children from Cape Town living with (n=143) and without HIV (n=148). Measurements of PF and RBP were adjusted for inflammation using a regression-correction approach RESULTS: HIV+ children had higher prevalences of anaemia (29% v. 14%; odds ratio (OR) = 2.6; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.4 - 4.9; p=0.002), iron-deficient erythropoiesis (20% v. 9%; OR=2.5; 95% CI 1.2 - 5.0; p=0.013) and iron deficiency anaemia (11% v. 4%; OR=2.9; 95% CI 1.1 - 7.7; p=0.035) than HIV- children. Marginal vitamin A deficiency was noted in 52% of HIV+ and 57% of HIV- children (p=0.711). Subclinical inflammation was more prevalent in HIV+ than HIV- children (p=0.012 CONCLUSION: Anaemia, iron-deficient erythropoiesis and iron deficiency anaemia were more prevalent in HIV+ than HIV- children. Prevalence of marginal vitamin A deficiency was high in both groups. Efforts to improve micronutrient status and mitigate nutritional determinants of anaemia in HIV+ children from resource-limited settings should be prioritised <![CDATA[<b>Child development at age 5 years: The effects of maternal education, socioeconomic status and early-life growth examined prospectively in a low-resource setting</b>]]> BACKGROUND: Deeper insight into relationships between social factors and early childhood growth and development is required, particularly in low-resource settings OBJECTIVES: To determine (i) associations between early linear growth and child development at 5 years; and (ii) whether early childhood growth mediates relationships between maternal education, household socioeconomic status (SES) and subsequent child development METHODS: This study used data from the Birth to Twenty Plus study, a longitudinal South African birth cohort study. The study sample comprised 636 participants with complete data at all relevant time points for the analysis. Household SES and maternal education were measured during pregnancy and the first two years of life, and growth between birth and 4 years of age. Child development was assessed using the Revised Denver Pre-screening Developmental Questionnaire (R-DPDQ). Multivariable regression analyses were used to investigate the association between SES, maternal education, growth and child development, and structural equation modelling was used to analyse the mediation of growth RESULTS: In both sexes, higher birthweight and household SES were associated with higher R-DPDQ scores. Increased relative linear growth, particularly between 0 and 2 years, was associated with higher R-DPDQ scores among boys (β=0.82; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.27 - 1.37) at age 5. Growth status but not SES mediated the association between maternal education and R-DPDQ scores CONCLUSION: Child development at 5 years was independently associated with SES and birthweight. The negative effects of lower maternal education on child development was attenuated by better growth <![CDATA[<b>Is the World Health Organization's multicentre child growth standard an appropriate growth reference for assessing optimal growth of South African mixed-ancestry children?</b>]]> In South Africa (SA), it has been estimated that one-third of boys and 25% of girls under the age of 5 years are stunted, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) Multicentre Growth Reference Study. During the past decade, research in developed and developing countries has shown that the international growth standard overestimates stunting and/or wasting when compared with population-specific growth references. Population-specific growth references typically incorporate genetic and environmental factors and can therefore better inform public health by identifying children who may be at risk for malnutrition, or who may be ill. Using the universal growth standard in SA may not be accurately assessing growth. In this article, environmental and genetic factors, and their influence on growth, are reviewed. These points are illustrated through a brief history of the peopling of SA, with an understanding of the socioeconomic and political climate - past and present. We discuss the uniqueness of certain population groups in SA, with contributions regarding some of the shortest peoples in the world and a history of sociopolitical inequities, which may mean that children from certain population groups who are perfectly healthy would underperform using the universal growth standard. Therefore, we suggest that a local population-specific growth reference would serve to better inform public health policies, and address childhood health equity and physical developmental pathways to adult health risk status. <![CDATA[<b>Biliary atresia splenic malformation syndrome presenting with hepatic abscesses</b>]]> Biliary atresia, a destructive inflammatory cholangiopathy, leads to liver cirrhosis and subsequent death by the age of 2 years if left untreated. Biliary atresia splenic malformation (BASM) syndrome makes up 10% of all cases of biliary atresia. Kasai hepatoportoenterostomy (KPE) may establish continuity of bile flow and slow down progression to cirrhosis if the procedure is performed early in infancy. We describe an 8.5-year-old boy with known BASM syndrome (polysplenia, intestinal malrotation, interrupted inferior vena cava, shortened pancreas, centralised liver and left atrial isomerism) who underwent a successful KPE at the age of 3 months. He presented with features suggestive of a late onset ascending cholangitis (AC) complicated by cholangitic liver abscesses. Resolution of the abscesses with prolonged antibiotic therapy avoided the need for percutaneous drainage. Once the abscesses resolved, the child underwent a successful cadaveric liver transplantation. <![CDATA[<b>Neonatal medium-sized vessel vasculitis: A rare case report</b>]]> Vasculitis is a rare disorder during the neonatal period. We present a term male neonate of consanguineous parents and birthweight of 4 030 g who presented at 11 days of life with an evolving skin rash. There was no history of drug exposure in the neonate except for routine care. On day 7 of life, multiple erythematous plaques with necrotic or pustular centres appeared. There were no signs of mucosal involvement or sepsis and laboratory findings were normal. Skin biopsy revealed small and intermediate vessel vasculitis. At follow-up 2 weeks after discharge from the hospital, the skin lesions persisted, and at age 2 months, the patient presented with features of severe pneumonia and subsequently died. Vasculitis was reported as the cause of death on postmortem biopsy.