Insufficient access to Healthcare in Childhood, could have long-term effects…
While many young parents are constantly walking a fine line between meeting the family budget and providing their loved ones with the best quality of life, many continue to regard access to appropriate healthcare as a “nice-to-have” as opposed to a “need-to-have.” This often results in the provision of little to no healthcare cover or, where provision is made, it is often not designed to provide adequate cover for infants and children.
This is a common and potentially tragic mistake says Dr Jacques Snyman, Managing Director of Integrated Care Solutions at Agility Global Health Solutions, owners of the Zurreal programme.
“Providing adequate healthcare plays an important role in sustaining the physical, social and mental development of children and inadequate treatment and prevention of many childhood diseases may have a dramatic effect on their long-term health and wellbeing.”
According to Snyman, children who suffer from regular illness that is not adequately treated during childhood may develop physical, emotional and mental health complications later on in life. Failure to reach growth targets or development of chronic lung diseases may be attributed to under treatment of conditions such as asthma. Similarly defaulting on a vaccination programme in early childhood may have dire consequences for older growing children if they contract perfectly preventable diseases such as measles later in life. “In many cases chronic illness can severely affect a child’s social development as sick children are likely to interact less with other children, receive less feedback on their behaviour and are 30% more likely to develop depression,” says Snyman.
Snyman suggests that parents consider the healthcare needs of their young children when deciding on a medical scheme and healthcare option. “Making sure your healthcare option is child-friendly should include ensuring you have access to benefits such as quality prenatal care for expectant mothers, paediatric care for young children, day-to-day healthcare benefits as well as chronic care for child related illnesses such as ADHD and rhinitis where appropriate.”
According to Snyman, many parents are unaware of the short-term and long-term effects of untreated chronic illnesses such as ADHD on children. “Studies have shown that the educational and social implications of untreated ADHD in children are profound and could range from failing or dropping out of school to a much higher incidence of unwanted pregnancy, substance abuse and high-risk behaviour. In addition, as much as 79% of adults with ADHD who were not treated as children experience symptoms of anxiety, depression, and physical ailments compared with 51% of adults without ADHD.”
“Providing quality healthcare plays a significant role in the overall development of children and should be a high priority for every parent. With healthcare inflation dramatically increasing, few parents can afford to be without healthcare cover that incorporates medical scheme cover, medical savings and top-up cover if they want to ensure the ongoing health and wellbeing of their family,” Snyman concludes.