Old Girl, Dr Michelle Meiring, matriculated in 1988 and attended medical school at the University of Pretoria with a focus on paediatrics. Michelle started at Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto in 1999. With the growing amount of sick children coming into the hospital, Michelle's mandate started when other doctors said: “there's nothing more to be done”.
Michelle's noticed there had been a huge gap in doctors training on palliative care. “We are not taught how to look after people who are not going to survive: how to prevent pain, how to manage distress, how to counsel the family.” Michelle states.
In 2003 she opened a five-bed paediatric ward at the Houghton Hospice and in 2007 a ten-bed ward at a hospice in Soweto. That same year she started hospital consultation services at Baragwanath, then at Coronation Hospital and at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital. In 2002 Michelle co-founded the Children's Homes Outreach Medical Program (CHOMP) as well as Big Shoes in 2006 and over the years, she has continued to drive paediatric palliative care NGO's across the country.
After twenty years in her field, Michelle's accomplishments speak for themselves, yet there remains a lot to be done, such as fighting for the Department of Health to implement a national paediatric palliative care policy. For more on this story click here.