As a parent, your child’s clinic card becomes one of the most vital documents in your child’s life and is almost as important as their birth certificate.
Sadly, it can sometimes get lost or become damaged due to unforeseen circumstances. However, your child often needs the booklet at crucial points in their life so what happens when you lose the clinic card and how can you get it replaced? Read on to find out.
What is a clinic card?
A clinic card, also referred to as a Road to Health booklet, is a booklet that is issued to every new South African mother when her baby is born.
In a private or state hospital, the book is given to the mother when she is discharged from hospital.
In the event of a home birth or birth outside a medical facility, mothers are given the card when they visit the clinic, doctor, or hospital with their baby for the first time.
The booklet contains helpful information for parents and caregivers such as; guidance on feeding the baby, symptoms, and signs to watch for, and tips on healthcare and caring for the child in general.
The most important information contained in the booklet, however, is the record of baby’s birth information (weight, size etc) and his or her subsequent growth rate, immunisations, and any other health issues or interventions.
ALSO READ: SA Doctors advise women not to skip regular check-ups
It is essentially a record of their health history and it is used to monitor the child’s development up to the age of five.
According to Jet Club, it is designed to keep track of your baby’s healthcare needs and is a very helpful tool for healthcare workers and a source of important information for caregivers. The card also keeps a record of the next time your baby needs to visit the clinic for immunisation.
How to replace a lost clinic card
If you have lost your baby’s clinic card, you will need to begin by visiting your nearest police station and get a stamped and signed affidavit confirming that your child’s Road to Health booklet was lost, stolen, destroyed, or whatever the case might be.
You will then need to take the affidavit, your ID, and the child’s birth certificate to the clinic where your baby was born, or the health facility that has most recently been seeing or treating your child.
“If you can’t get to a police station for an affidavit, don’t worry. Just take your ID and the baby’s birth certificate to the clinic or health facility your child has most recently visited,” advises Jet Club.
You can ask the health facility for your child’s folder which is supposed to contain all the information that is also in the clinic card and ask them to use that information to issue you with a new Road to Health booklet.
If your child has recently had treatment or developed any new conditions that aren’t included in the history in the folder you will need to inform them so it can be included.
Myths about clinic cards
There are a number of things that people believe about clinic cards and these beliefs, however untrue, have been shared via word of mouth.
If your child does not have a clinic card, you are still allowed to request medical treatment from a clinic, whether you have the booklet with you or not.
READ: Refusing the vaccine is ‘selfish with far-reaching consequences’
You can still register your child for school as It is not legal for a school to bar a child admission because they don’t have their Road to Health booklet.
Jet Club does advise getting a doctor’s certificate or affidavit confirming reasons for non-vaccination if you have chosen to forego getting your child vaccinated as that can present some sort of issue in some scenarios.
Road To Health Digital App
The department of health has also created the Road To Health Digital App and it is described as the official South African National Department of Health’s digital version of the road to health book given to pregnant moms to record the growth of their baby and immunisations.
The app is currently poorly rated on the Google Play app store, however, as a number of functions on the app do not work properly. At the time of writing, The Citizen managed to download the app successfully but were unable to initialise it due to some kind of error on the app.
It would be advisable to create a cloud-stored folder for each child and load updated copies of their clinic card or medical records after each check-up or major health event.