n South African Medical Journal - Down syndrome in paediatric outpatient wards at Durban hospitals : scientific letter

Volume 101, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



The birth of a child with Down syndrome (DS) has many serious implications - physical and mental deficiencies, medical conditions and lifestyle challenges. The high incidence (1 in 600 births in South Africa) and high cost of medical care highlight the need for effective health care. The South African Human Genetic Policy Guidelines include a rudimentary list pertaining to the management of DS. In the USA, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has addressed this issue by devising clinical protocols focusing on improving the level of functioning and quality of life of children with DS. Countries such as Thailand and, to a lesser extent, South Africa, in KwaZulu-Natal, have adopted and adapted these guidelines. The importance of the guidelines for clinical and counselling practices and their routine adherence is a daily challenge for 3 Durban hospitals with a total of 2 staff members dedicated to genetic matters.

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