Arroyo wants newborn screening in program for babies
Quezon City (24 October) -- PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is pushing for the inclusion of “newborn screening” into the government’s national action plan for infants.
Newborn screening is a process by which infants are tested for possible inherited diseases.
“We should include newborn screening in the national action plan for infants,” Arroyo said during a roundtable discussion in Malacañang on Monday.
Her statement was made in time for the observation of national newborn screening week, which was created last year through Presidential Proclamation 640.
Dr. Carmencita Padilla of the Department of Health (DOH) explained that the program would not only help save babies from future mental retardation but also save parents the cost of hospitalization.
“Taking care of a child is so expensive,” Padilla said. “The expenses a parent may incur for a sick child can reach P70,000.”
Two children were presented to Arroyo during the roundtable -- 9-year-old Janelle Barrameda, who benefited from the newborn screening process, and a 17-year-old who was not screened and began suffering mental health problem three years ago.
Arroyo herself admitted she did not know about newborn screening until recently.
“I didn’t know about this when I gave birth. I am grateful my children are normal,” she said. (PIA) [top]