Counseling is now a major requirement for pediatrics, says Hyd Dr. Altaf Naseem

There is an emotional bond with his patients. Dr. Altaf is happy when they come to greet him during festivals

By KANIZA GARARI  Published on  10 Aug 2022 11:30 AM GMT
Counseling is now a major requirement for pediatrics, says Hyd Dr. Altaf Naseem

Hyderabad: Understanding the medical needs of children is not an easy task. Their complaints have to be understood from signs and gestures or what their mother narrates. This is a challenging aspect of pediatrics. It is this challenge that motivated Dr. Altaf Naseem to specialize in child care. He completed his specialization at Seth G S Medical College and KEM Mumbai in 2003.

During that time, pediatric medicine was about identifying the disease and treating it.

In the last 19 years, pediatric medicine has undergone a sea change. Dr. Naseem who is now a professor of pediatrics at Owaisi Hospital and Research Centre says: "Medicine is now not only about treating diseases but also about prevention. The role of a pediatrician now requires a lot of counseling. Preventive medicine is now a stream of science and vaccination counseling is a part of it."

Dr. Naseem says there are several reasons for this change. "Vaccines for children have helped in preventing diseases and reduced mortality in those below 5 years of age. Lifestyle changes in society have resulted in the early advent of diseases like obesity. These require to be tackled early with counseling on eating habits like less junk food, a healthy diet, and physical activity. Childhood obesity in India is at 10 to 12 percent in India. Seasonal diseases are a challenge and they must be addressed every year from June to September. Dengue has become rampant in the last 8 years," he says.

Dr. Naseem says to treat dengue, it is not only medicine but new research and guidelines have to be followed. "The evolving medicine in the treatment and the changing protocols must be kept in mind. Dengue is a disease which is stressful for pediatricians too as it requires skillful monitoring," he says.

Seasonal diseases like dengue, chikungunya, and viral fevers are the most stressful time of the year. Dr. Naseem says, "These are the month when I visit home only to sleep at night. Maximum time is at the hospital only as there is a rush in patients. Those with the severe and critical disease require a lot of attention." During the Covid 19 pandemic, there was a lot of pressure on them in terms of counseling parents and children.

"Covid 19 was the time when I saw children scared and demotivated. The fear of the virus had inflicted them so much that many of them were low on their confidence levels. Their creativity was impacted and their thought process changed. Those children who lost near and dear ones in the family were troubled for a long. It required a lot of motivation to make these children look positively towards life. Hopefully, with schools now fully functional, children are back to their schedules and that gives them the feeling that life is back to normal," Dr. Naseem says.

There is an emotional bond with his patients. Dr. Altaf is happy when they come to greet him during festivals.


Leisure time for him is sports and he loves to play cricket. Holidays are a rarity as hospital and college schedules need to be strictly followed.

Dr. S A Jabeen, his wife is a neurologist, and head of the department of neurology at Nizam's Institute of Medical Science. His children are studying in school hence their calendar needs to be followed to plan a vacation. "I follow my children's schedule for vacation as that works best for me. I can give them quality time as whenever I am home, I am mostly in the hospital and there is very little time spent with them."

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