The number of parents seeking treatment for sick children rose dramatically between May and November this year compared to 2016, with a particular spike from September to November, according to Dr Lean Kimsreng, director of Phnom Penh pediatric clinic and vice chief of the emergency department at the National Pediatric hospital (NPH). Respiratory diseases are now the most common problem among infants aged less than 6 months, he said.
Dr Kimsreng said the spike in disease resulted from parents’ failure to follow proper hygienic practices, and from abruptly changing or otherwise abnormal weather conditions.
“I have noticed that personal hygiene involving eating, clothing and people’s living environments are not yet up to sound medical standards. Most parents, especially in rural areas, do not have much awareness of how to take good care of infants, or of how to prevent the spread of disease from one person to another,” Dr Kimsreng said.
The doctor added that the change from warm to cool weather at this time of year also promotes the causes of the spread of disease. He explained that respiratory disease affects the upper respiratory and continue to lower respiratory parts of an infant’s body if no adequate treatment is provided.
Dr Kimsreng said parents in Phnom Penh were generally more knowledgeable about keeping their children healthy than parents in remote areas. They understand how disease is spread, especially colds and fever and some clinical signs, he said. Weather changes can cause these diseases to spread rapidly for babies and infants, the doctor said.
“Infectious diseases can cause by transmission person to person and can pass quickly from mother to infant if they are very closed proximity (< 1metter) . If they cannot treat their infant well, especially by providing nutrition hygienically, the condition of the infant will grow worse,” Dr Kimsreng said.
Phnom Penh Pediatric Clinic treats children less than 15 years of age. Sixty percent of infants less than six months of age have been infected by viral infections in 2016: this amount must be treated by specialists or pediatricians, Dr Kimsreng added.
He said that recently most children were being treated for dengue fever. Fortunately, Dr Kimsreng said, the NP hospital has many expert doctors who have been able to reduce the mortality rate remarkably. He advised people in rural areas with sick children to seek treatment promptly at nearby