In a world where there is so much to strive for and the great influence of technology one wonders what support is available to children and their caregivers as they too charter their way into life.
A chat with Mahalapye born Dr. Sarona Mathware, a Pediatric and Adolescent specialist with special interest in adolescents, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism sheds some light.
As a mother of three children aged 15, 12 and 10 years, Dr Mathware spends her days providing care, guidance and forging relations with children and various entities charged with the responsibility of caring for young minds.
“Busy as we all are, we need to make time and do our best in caring for our children. It is indeed the greatest love of all,” she says.
Dr Mathware says in her experience she has come to believe that; “Batswana trust health care providers but I feel the health care provision for children is sub-par. Batswana are yet to embrace the role of a pediatrician in their children’s medical care. They believe that as long as a child has been seen by a doctor then the child has been given the right care. More often than not, that is the case, but often times a sick child is not referred to a specialist until a disease process is advanced.”
Dr Mathware advises that one does not need a referral to consult with a pediatrician, however one may need to check with their medical aid.
“At different ages and stages children need specialized attention. In Botswana kids only come to the doctor for weighing or when sick. This is not adequate as when kids come to the clinics for weighing, there is little individualized attention to address developmental milestones and really comment on the growth parameters or developmental delays.”
“Then when children reach five years and over, the norm is that since they do not need to come for monthly weight etc, the child is done with the doctors, until such a time when they are sick or when they reach reproductive years, mainly for the females as they go for their prenatal appointments.”
She said this should not be the case and children under the age of the two should go for a physical exam at least every three-four months so that concerns and issues can be addressed early on.
“After the age of two, every child needs a physical exam once a year so that age appropriate developmental milestones and body changes can be addressed.”
Mathware goes further to say there is not much emphasis on preventative medicine aimed at children.
“Currently, we are facing obesity as a growing epidemic but other than policies and benchmarking efforts, there is little done to address obesity in our children and prevention of it, hence parents need to be empowered to know what diet is appropriate at what age groups, what constitutes a good diet and consideration of activities for their children.”
She said an interest in these matters goes a long way in raising healthy well rounded children.
The kid’s doctor said the school curriculum should emphasize sports and working out as a lifestyle and not just for competition while places of recreation for kids should be set up and made interesting to children.
About Dr Mathware
Mathware did her primary and secondary education in government schools and after a two year stint at the University of Botswana, transferred to the United States of America.
“I have a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology (1999), graduated Medical Doctor (M.D) in 2004 and completed pediatric specialization in 2008.
I worked in the U.S.A until May 2013 then came back home to join UB SOM and left Jan 2014 to start private practice.
Like most parents, away from work I hardly have time for myself.
My days entail attending to my son’s needs; tutoring classes, trips to the shops to buy “mopako” and this and that.
The only me time is early mornings when I go to the gym for some serious workout.
It can get overwhelming but am having fun along the way.