Tag Archives: Psychiatry

IACAPAP : Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists in South Africa

The South African Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (SAACAPAP) was proud to host the first IACAPAP World Congress to be held on the African continent, and doubly proud to have done so during the term of office of the first African President of IACAPAP, Olayinka Omigbodun, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

The International Convention Centre in Durban is one of the most advanced conference facilities in the world. Durban, capital of the province of KwaZulu Natal, is South Africa’s premier holiday destination. The subtropical climate and warm Indian Ocean mean all-year-round swimming and outdoor activities. Several game parks are only a few hours’ drive to the north, and the majestic Drakensberg mountain range, with its holiday hotels and scenic hikes, is only a few hours’ drive to the west.

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Let’s begin by clearing up the misconceptions that exist for many people about the differences between a psychiatrist and a psychologist.  It’s not uncommon for people to be confused between these two professions. A psychologist has a degree in In the study of the human mind and behavior, whereas psychiatrists have graduated as doctors from medical school and have completed their internship and residency. Psychiatrists are qualified to prescribe medication for their patients whereas psychologists are not. The two both work in the same areas of treatment and often refer patients to each other.

Poverty, unemployment and a history of violence and discrimination in the country are all factors that contribute to an unstable environment for children and youth to flourish mentally and emotionally in South Africa.  In poor communities, it is not uncommon for children to neglected and abused by their caregivers.

The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s hospital in Cape Town is the only medical institution  in South Africa which is entirely dedicated to the physical and psychological well being of children.

Child Psychiatry

Early in 1964, psychiatrist, Dr Vera Buhrmann, founded the Child and Adolescent outpatient unit at the Red Cross hospital, meeting an urgent need for psychiatric care for children and adolescents in the community. The unit was permanently busy and grew from strength to strength and just over ten years later a dedicated facility was established in a converted residential premises nearby. The new facility comprised a much larger staff, including three child psychiatrists catering for seriously damaged children by means of their out patient program. In late 1978, DCAP, or the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found its home at the Sawkins Rd establishment in Rondebosch, Cape Town.
DCAP has helped tens of thousands of children and adolescents since its inception and humble beginnings. With the help of government grants and generous donations from generous sponsors, the facility has become the country’s leading specialist center for psychologically disturbed children and adolescents.

IACAPAP Delegates Explore Cape Town

At the closure of the first IACAPAP World Congress, members of SAACAPAP (The South African Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions) proudly bid farewell to delegates they had come to know and bond with over the duration of the Congress. The members felt proud of the manner in which the first IACAPAP ever held on African soil had been concluded in South Africa. There was the air of a job well done and optimism in the air, such that many international delegates felt inspired to travel south from Durban and spend a few days relaxing and exploring Cape Town.

Ashanti Backpackers in Cape Town

And why shouldn’t these dedicated men and women who had given up so much of their lives leading up to the Conference, be allowed a little bit of time to decompress In Cape Town’s loving arms ? The motion had my full support, and after discussing a few trivial matters, it was decided that the eight of us would head down to Cape Town and enjoy the Cape Weather, Wines and Hospitality for seven days, before having to regroup with the rest of the delegates before they finally departed South Africa.

Ok, so we had a loose plan in place now, all we had to do was get to Cape Town, find reasonable accommodation, check in and then have some fun for a week, before meeting up with the rest of the delegates at the end of the week…….

OK! Book flights for eight people, asap, to Cape Town. Everybody turned to their mobile phones and started frowning while stroking and wiping their glass screens. I presumed this meant they had begun trying to source flight times etc from airlines. Dino broke away from his mobile phone “god” first, and claimed to have found us the perfect accommodation in Cape Town, It’s Ashanti Lodge, Ashanti Lodge Backpackers in Cape Town ! Whist the term backpacker was not all that inspiring as it conjured up memories of shoddy places I’d stayed at when I was much younger, there was a round of applause from the rest of the gang. It seemed that Ashanti Lodge was far more than an ordinary backpacker. Our Accommodation agreed upon, things sped up from there, and less than an hour later I was at the Durban airport waiting to board my flight for Cape Town. An almost peaceful hour and thirty minute flight, where we all seemed to regroup and acknowledge that we were escaping for a weeks holiday in Cape Town.

We made quick of the airport formalities, gathered our luggage and entered the airport collections area. Straight up ahead was a chap holding a card above his head that stated “ASHANTI – IACAPAP DELEGATES”. Bags loaded into the transporter, we hopped in and began our drive into the city. Glen, the Ashanti Lodge driver, pointed out points of interest, including the Majestic Table Mountain.

Twenty five minutes later when we arrived at the Lodge, it was after 4pm and you feel the sun slowly starting to sink into the Atlantic Ocean, casting a golden light over everything it touched. Ashanti Lodge Cape Town Backers is perhaps the oldest backpacker in Cape Town, started more than twenty years ago.  The original building is a converted Victorian Mansion, nestled just below Table Mountain, in the Cape Town Gardens District. It’s location is unbeatable, 2.3km from Table Mountain, 800m from the Iziko South African Museum, and 4.7 km from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront’s shops. Apart from the converted Victorian Mansion, their are two other smaller properties in the adjacent street that offer something to those looking for a bit more comfort.

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Our crew  parted ways with an air of excitement, eager to put our bags down in our rooms and explore the friendly surroundings. The lodge was busy at that time of year, so we were largely surrounded by people young and old of different nationalities, as excited as we were to be in Cape Town, and ready to start exploring. Dino reported back in 10 minutes. “There’s a pub upstairs with a pool table that has the most amazing views of Table Mountain….but if you just peek over the balcony, there is a beautiful crystal clear swimming pool filled with scantily clad frolicking Swedish girls !! Haha, I had to laugh. We were in Dino heaven.  If you are ever considering spending a week in Cape Town and need accommodation in a Cape Town Backpackers, I cannot stress how much you need to just take a peek at Ashanti Lodge. The setting cannot be beaten, the location is so perfect, the staff and general friendly vibe is what really set me on it though. A beautiful little oasis, smack bang in the center of Cape Town.