Children need health care designed for their unique needs that is delivered by specially trained healthcare professionals in a safe and comfortable setting.
Located in Riffa, AlSalam Specialist Hospital (ASSH) provides a wide variety of healthcare services for a broad and diverse patient population. The hospital’s Pediatric Department is dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of children in Bahrain through its advanced facilities and well-experienced team. This team includes Dr. Souheil M. Shabib, Dr. Mohamed Al Rafaei and is headed by Dr. Fatima Neama.
Dr. Mohamed Al Rafaei is a Senior Pediatric Consultant who has over 40 years of experience in the field of pediatrics. Dr. Mohamed is well versed in handling all diseases of children and newborns as well as those who are in the neonatal intensive care.
Dr. Souheil Shabib, on the other hand, is an expert in pediatric gastroenterology with more than 35 years of experience. He is internationally trained in Canada and is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Just recently, we had the chance to interview the Pediatric Department’s Head, Dr. Fatima Neama, to know more.
How long have you been in practice? What made you decide to become a pediatrician?
I started my medical practice 37 years ago – being a doctor has always been a dream since I was a child. My humble beginnings started at Salmaniya Medical Center as a junior pediatric resident in 1983. I took my Arab Board Specialization in pediatrics and became a consultant. Later on, I had my subspecialty in pediatric neurology which enriched my experience in general pediatrics.
Can you provide an overview of your role and main areas of focus at AlSalam Specialist Hospital?
I am the Head of the Pediatric Department at ASSH. My team is composed of three consultants and two part-time pediatricians with specialties in neonatology and gastroenterology. Furthermore, our team also has a general pediatrician, two specialists and a pediatric resident.
Our team works together in overseeing the inpatients, NICU, outpatient clinics and emergency departments. Our main focus is in the NICU – this is where newborns are taken and supervised by a pediatric specialist and neonatal consultants 24 hours.
What sets ASH apart is the 24-hour availability of our pediatric specialist who is supervised by an expert consultant pediatrician. This is vital in managing all pediatric cases during emergencies inside and outside the hospital. Moreover, the availability of a pediatric consultant with a subspecialty in gastroenterology, neonatology and neurology gives complete care under one roof.
What is your philosophy when it comes to child care?
It is important not only to care for the children but also to extend concern to those who are caring for them at home. As pediatricians, we differ from other specialties when it comes to caring for children as our role also extends to parents and sometimes other family members.
How can parents protect their children during the coronavirus pandemic?
These precautions should be taken always and not only during the Coronavirus pandemic:
- Avoiding exposure of small babies with sick patients and avoiding the crowds.
- Educating older children to wash hands before and after foods.
- Explaining proper hand hygiene like avoiding nose picking and eye touching.
- Staying at home when sick and drinking plenty of liquids to stay hydrated.
- Wearing masks or covering mouth and nose during sneezing and coughing
How often should parents bring their kids for a checkup?
A regular health checkup should be done for infants starting with the age of 6 weeks. Vaccination schedules should later be conducted at age of 2, 4, 6,12,15,18 months as well as 2, 3, 4 and 13 years.
We always instruct parents to watch their infant’s development milestones. If there any delays in achieving sitting at 1 year, walking at 18 months and or saying words by 2 years, the parents should take their child to the pediatrician to find the cause of it.