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Towards universal newborn screening in developing countries: obstacles and the way forward.

Authors
  • Padilla, Carmencita David1
  • 1 Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of the Philippines Manila, Philippines. [email protected] , (Philippines)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Annals of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2008
Volume
37
Issue
12 Suppl
Identifiers
PMID: 19904464
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Newborn Screening is a well recognised public health programme aimed at the early identification of infants who are affected by certain genetic/metabolic/infectious conditions. Early identification of these conditions is particularly crucial, since timely intervention can lead to a significant reduced morbidity, mortality, and associated disabilities in affected infants. Establishing sustainable newborn screening programmes in developing countries poses major challenges as it competes with other health priorities--infectious disease control, immunisation, malnutrition, etc. Despite this, it is imperative that developing countries recognise the importance of newborn screening based on experiences on both developed and developing countries in saving thousands of babies from mental retardation, death and other complications. Some of the critical factors necessary for a successful national newborn screening programme are inclusion of newborn screening among government priorities, funding (including the possibility of newborn screening fees), public acceptance, health practitioners cooperation, and government participation in institutionalising the newborn screening system. This paper presents a historical review of 4 eras of newborn screening in the Asia Pacific, discusses enabling factors leading to successful newborn screening programme implementation, and identifies obstacles that threaten the programme implementation in developing countries.

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