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PIA Press Release
2006/10/10

DOH reiterates necessity for newborn screening

By Marivic A. Alcober

Tacloban City (10 October) -- In order to avoid metabolic disorders and even death, the Department of Health - Eastern Visayas (DOH-EV) thru its Regional Director Benita N. Pastor reiterates its advocacy for Newborn Screening.

According to DOH-EV, it is a must that newborn babies should be screened 48th hours or at least 24 hours from birth. The screening will be facilitated thru the use of heal prick method, wherein drops of blood will be taken from the baby's heel, blotched on a special absorbent card, and dried for at least four hours. The procedure maybe be done by a physician, nurse, midwife or medical technologist and sent to Newborn Screening Center, West Visayas State University and Medical Center, Ilo-ilo City for screening for the Visayas Region.

The Newborn Screening is facilitated to find out whether a newborn child has any of the five metabolic disorders, which are congenital hypothyroidism, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, galactosernea, phenylketonuria and glucose-6-phophate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency.

Congenital hypothyroidism results from lack or absence of thyroid hormone, which is essential to growth of the brain and the body. If the disorder in the body is not detected and hormone placement is not initiated within four weeks, the baby's physical growth will be stunted and may suffer from mental retardation. On the other hand, congenital adrenal hyperplasia is an endocrine disorder that causes severe salt loss, dehydration and abnormally high levels of male sex hormones in both boys and girls. If not detected and treated early, a baby may die within 7 to 14 days.

In the case of galactosernea, the body is unable to process galactose, which is the sugar that is present in milk, while phenylketonuria is a metabolic disorder wherein the body cannot properly use one of the building blocks of protein called phenylalanine. Excessive accumulation of this substance in the human body causes brain damage. And lastly, the glucose-6-phophate dehydrogenase deficiency which is a condition wherein the body lacks the enzyme called G6PD, which may cause hemolytic anemia resulting from exposure to certain drugs, foods and chemicals.

For interested parties, Newborn Screening services in the region are available at the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center, Bethany Hospital, Divine Word Hospital, Remedios Trinidad Romualdez Hospital, Leyte Provincial Hospital, Well-Family Midwife Clinic - Sanches in Tacloban, OSPA-Farmers Medical Center in Ormoc, Abuyog District Hospital, Burauen District Hospital, and the Calbayog Sanitarium and Hospital.

For more detailed information, one may call or visit Dr. Lilibeth Andrade, Newborn Screening Regional Coordinator, DOH-EV, Government Center, Palo, Leyte or call 323-6119. (PIA-8) [top]

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