As parents, we always want the best for our children. This extends to their physical and mental well-being. Often, it can become quite confusing about what sort of healthcare professional your baby or child should be seeing for their required check-ups or health concerns. Bloom, together with their trusted medical partner, Momentum Health4Me, advises visiting a paediatrician if your baby was born prematurely or if your child suffers from any physical, emotional or neurological conditions. Find out more about this specialist medical focus.
What is a paediatrician?
Paediatricians are medical doctors who have specialist skills and training that makes them qualified to treat the health, development and growth of babies, children and teenagers. Some paediatricians operate as primary caregivers while others serve a specialist function.
What does a paediatrician do?
A paediatrician is trained to manage the physical and mental health of babies and adolescents up to the age of 18 years. They can diagnose a range of different diseases or conditions, some of which are specific to children like whooping cough, measles, chickenpox and ear infections. The primary function of a paediatrician is to monitor the healthy development of a child and to provide expert medical advice. It’s recommended to seek out a paediatrician when you’re pregnant as they will need to see your infant from birth until the age of about two years old. Thereafter, they will need to see your child annually until the age of five. After five years of age, a child will only need to see a paediatrician for a check-up or when there’s a medical reason to do so.
Type of paediatricians
Most paediatricians practise as primary caregivers, but there are also a number of specialist paediatric practitioners who specialise in a particular branch of paediatrics. Some of these include:
- Paediatric oncologists, who deal with different types of cancer affecting children, like leukaemia, lymphoma and tumours. They may also deal with diseases affecting blood cells.
- Paediatric cardiologists, deal with diagnosing and treating heart conditions affecting children and work closely with paediatric heart surgeons in order to determine the best method of treatment for a child.
- Paediatric dentists are those specialists who have completed specialised dentistry training in order to treat oral and dental problems affecting children, like tooth decay, chronic thumb sucking and gum disease.
- Paediatric neurologists. These specialists deal with neurological diseases and disorders affecting the brain and neurological development of children.
When to see a paediatrician. Is it even necessary?
It’s perfectly acceptable for your baby or child to see your local clinic nurse or family GP. However, if there are specific concerns or problems, the clinic nurse or a GP may refer you to a paediatrician. A paediatrician can help with the following issues:
1. Diagnosis of diseases or conditions. A paediatrician will be able to diagnose any serious illnesses, disorders or conditions and refer you to a paediatric specialist, like a paediatric dentist. This way your baby or child can receive proper preventive care to manage or treat their particular illness or condition.
2. Manage developmental milestones. The paediatrician will monitor a child’s development with regards to physical growth, mental, social and communication skills.
3. Provide health and safety advice. A paediatrician is one of the best experts to consult with regards to general questions about the health of your child or specific questions, like those relating to nutrition or fitness.
4. Immunisations and vaccinations. A paediatrician can provide a baby or child with the required immunisations although these are also available free of charge at state clinics. Some of these include poliomyelitis, diphtheria, tuberculosis and pertussis. Check the full list of vaccinations required for more information.
Two important reasons to have your child evaluated by a paediatrician
Early intervention means your child can receive proper care and rehabilitation. While a paediatrician is responsible for monitoring and managing the development of a baby or child, you should definitely get an evaluation if your child is affected by any of the following serious conditions:
- Poor growth or developmental delays. This could include problems with communication skills or walking. For instance, by the age of two, a child should be able to utter simple two-word phrases and walk unaided. Early intervention from a paediatrician will get your child the help they may need to assist with any delays. This might mean occupational or speech therapy, vision or hearing assistance, or even special education services.
- Behavioural or emotional concerns. A child displaying behavioural or emotional problems will need to be evaluated for specific disorders, like autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), poor mental health issues like childhood depression, or learning disabilities like dyslexia. Once diagnosed, your child can be referred to a professional for specialist services, like a psychologist or remedial teacher.
How much does a paediatrician consultation cost?
Paediatrician rates will vary but you can expect to pay between R550-R1000 per paediatric consultation in South Arica.
Health4Me benefits. Will health insurance cover a paediatrician?
Yes. The Momentum Health4Me Gold plan does cover a paediatric consultation. Plan members are eligible for two visits per year which is limited to R1000 per visit and up to R2000 per member each year. If you’re wondering about how to go about finding a paediatrician, you can consult any specialist who is a member of the Momentum CareCross Network. In order to qualify for your specialist benefit, plan members will need to first obtain a referral and pre-authorisation from a general practitioner. Contact Momentum Health4Me on 0860 10 29 03 with your referral letter in order to get authorisation.
Health insurance cover for the whole family
Find a comprehensive Health4Me health insurance plan for all your dependents with Bloom. Keep your children safe by ensuring they have access to the specialist benefit they need. Health4Me medical insurance is designed to suit a range of budgets, and you only pay for the health benefits you really need.
Contact us to speak to a trained consultant and we can advise you about the range of Health4Me plans and send you a health insurance quote.
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You understand and acknowledge that all users of the Bloom website are responsible for their own medical care, treatment, and oversight. All content provided on the website, is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Neither is it intended to be a substitute for an independent professional medical opinion, judgement, diagnosis or treatment.