Paediatrics and Child Health
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Department of Paediatrics and Child Health

Service Delivery - Subspecialist Paediatrics

​Neonatology and NICU

The neonatal division is staffed by a team of subspecialists who provide tertiary medical and surgical care for the 61,000 infants born annually in the eastern Cape Town Metropole and the designated drainage area of the rural Western Cape. In addition, secondary level care is provided to the 29,000 infants born in the eastern Cape Town Metropole.

The neonatal service accommodates 132 babies for inpatient care. There are 8 NICU and 4 High Care beds, as well as 120 operational neonatal ward beds. Thirty of these are for Kangaroo Mother Care. Four to five hundred babies are admitted annually to the NICU, of which a third are surgical patients. The NICU has access to a wide range of sophisticated equipment including high frequency oscillation ventilators, inhaled nitric oxide, therapeutic hypothermia devices, aEEG monitors and ultrasound machines. Our expertise ranges from surfactant lavage for meconium aspiration, therapeutic hypothermia for hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy and non-invasive ventilatory support for infants with Respiratory Distress Syndrome. The TBH neonatal service pioneered the provision of non-invasive ventilatory support in a general ward setting and has published the outcomes of infants receiving this treatment. The unit is involved in ongoing education activities and had previously conducted workshops for paediatricians on high frequency oscillation, non-invasive ventilatory support of infants, therapeutic hypothermia, and cardiac ultrasound. The Unit is registered as a training unit for neonatologists.

The neonatal high-risk clinic provides long-term neurodevelopmental assessments for all the very low birth weight infants and those treated with therapeutic hypothermia for neonatal hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy.

Research projects include outcome of infants with neonatal encephalopathy treated with cooling, neonatal nutrition, neonatal TB, treatment of HIV exposed and infected very low birth weight infants, effect of maternal reading on preterm neurodevelopment, and diagnostic methods for neonatal infection.

The Unit is accredited by the Health Professions Council of South Africa as a training unit for the Certificate in Neonatology. ​