Dr. Amani Ibrahim: Your Child’s Safety Is My Concern!
With extensive knowledge in pediatric treatments and using “Ducky” the stuffed duck, to distract the little patients and comfort them while visiting, Dr. Ibrahim really does help fight the common anxiety that children have towards doctors.
“Health education comes from a variety of places. Sadly, the main type is from the internet. People get their information from there and it is not necessarily good or valid information. Ideas that some mothers have come from other mothers who have only tried one thing that may have in fact worked for their child, but that doesn’t mean that it works for every child,” said Dr. Ibrahim.
Graduating from the University of Khartoum in Sudan, Dr. Ibrahim has dedicated her life to gaining more experience in the field of pediatrics. She has always been a fan of children and never got a child to say no to her treatment or examinations.
Patients come in to Dr. Ibrahim’s examination room in three ways, either they are visiting again, or they are new to the country, or they had experienced a doctor who did not make them feel comfortable. “It takes good knowledge of medicine, and experience to deal with younger children. They need to be able to trust the doctor, this is why I use Ducky,” said Dr. Ibrahim.
“Ducky is not a toy; he is something I use to make the child understand what I would do to him/her. Instead of just rushing to the child and putting your stethescope, or holding him or touching him, and he doesn’t know you, I use “Ducky” to say hello to the child, to kiss him. Then before I touch the child, I say and do whatever I am going to do to the child to Ducky – I noticed that since I started using “Ducky,” when I used the stethescope on the child then they are not so scared – their heartbeat is calm, they are happy to let me examine them.”
With children of her own, Dr. Ibrahim has understood the value of making the child feel at ease when visiting the doctor. Nurturing the child to understand that a visit to the doctor is not a punishment and is not a bad thing will help the child trust the doctors and their opinions.
One of the most important things that Dr. Ibrahim focuses on is the mother. “Taking information from the internet has some negative effects, but what is worse is taking information from someone who is not related to the medical or health field,” said Dr. Ibrahim. She continued to explain that if something is healthy for you, it might not be so healthy for your child. A big example of that is milk. After breastfeeding you want to be able to provide your child with the best nutrients to grow. Drinking almond or soy milk for you might be excellent for your healthy lifestyle. However, it might just make your child sick or develop allergies.
“I always tell them (parents) to come back to me if they are not sure what to give their child or a new way to take care of them. At least I will give you the proper website to deal with,” said Dr. Ibrahim. “Where I studied, I learnt how to provide counselling for parents and not forcefully attack them if they did something. They are entitled to get their information here and there, but you try to direct them for them to feel like they made the right choice,” she continued.
Working at Feto Maternal Center in Al Markhyia, Dr. Ibrahim has seen the center become more and more popular through the years. The mother and child center offers the perfect combination of services to both the child and the mother and helps them adjust seamlessly to the new world ahead of them.
“Feto-Maternal offers a vast number of services including regular checkups, breastfeeding classes, birthing classes, and much more to help mother and child adjust to each other in a safe environment.” – Dr. Amani Ibrahim, pediatric consultant at Feto-Maternal Center.
Being the secretary general of the Sudanese childhood diabetes association, Dr. Ibrahim also received her Master’s degree in pediatric diabetes from the University of Warwick. “I worked with many child obesity cases and misplaced children and studied what it is like for a child to live without their mother or father and how that might affect their bodies and their overall health,” said Dr. Ibrahim.
Nutrition counselling is core to a child’s health and one that Dr. Ibrahim and her team, including a dietician with vast experience in child nutrition provide. She is a breast-feeding consultant and she has expanded her knowledge further by relevant courses and trainings in malnutrition, diabetes, and infant nutrition.
When tackling a huge issue such as diabetes and obesity, Dr. Ibrahim relies on her instincts and her Masters in Pediatrics Diabetes from the University of Warwick. She says that she addresses each case with an open mind to the innovative treatments from all over the world.
According to Dr. Ibrahim, “there’s quite a lot of allergies, although many families don’t report any type of history of allergies in the family. Yet it is definitely allergies, the children are wheezy, have respiratory kinds of allergic reactions, coughing and have runny noses as well. It warrants that we (pediatricians) form our own ideas on what works and the number of cases that we have worked on, so that we can make a formal idea on the best way to deal with the situation, which is different from other countries.”
“Infectious diseases that only happen at certain times of the year like diarrhea, respiratory conditions, or mild childhood illnesses that our children are vaccinated against, which is why these conditions appear lightly and not in the horrific conditions in other areas of the world,” stated Dr. Ibrahim as some of the most common reasons patients request her.
Invited to countless worldwide events and conferences, Dr. Ibrahim has not only the technical aspect of her job down but also the social experience. “I don’t feel like I am privileged, it is a responsibility that I have towards my community,” she said.