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PIA Press Release
2008/10/08

October marks 13 important events in health calendar

Tacloban City (October 8) -- The month of October in the health calendar of the Department of Health, marks thirteen important health events.

In the month of October, the country commemorates the Breast Cancer Awareness Month; the National Children's Month; the Elderly Filipino Week on October 1 -7; and the National Newborn Screening Week on October 6 - 12..

On October 13 to 19, the country commemorates the Bone and Joint Awareness Week; Garantisadong Pambata Week Round 2; Health Education Week ; and Deficit/Hyperactivity Week.

Moreover, the Food Safety Awareness Week is celebrated on October 20-26; the Disorder Awareness Week is also celebrated in October; the World Mental Health Day is celebrated on October 10 and the World Sight Day is also celebrated on October 10.

Newborn Screening (NBS) is a simple procedure to find out if the baby has a congenital metabolic disorder that may lead to mental retardation and even death if left untreated. It is important to have Newborn Screening because most babies with metabolic disorders look normal at birth. One will never know that the baby has the disorder until the onset of signs and symptoms and more often ill effects are already irreversible.

Newborn screening is ideally done on the 48th hour or at least 24 hours from birth. Some disorders are not detected if the test is done earlier than 24 hours. The baby must be screened again after 2 weeks for more accurate results. Newborn screening is a simple procedure. Using the hell prick method, a few drops are taken from the baby's heel and blotted on a special absorbent filter card. The blood is dried for 4 hours and sent to the Newborn Screening Laboratory (NBS Lab).

Newborn screening is available in practicing health institutions (hospitals, lying-ins, Rural Health Units and Health Centers). If babies are delivered at home, babies may be brought to the nearest institution offering newborn screening.

Babies with positive results should be referred at once to the nearest hospital or specialist for confirmatory test and further management. Should there be no specialist in the area, the New Born Screening secretariat office will assist its attending physician.

Breast cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow out of control in one or both breasts. They can invade nearby tissues and form a mass, called a malignant tumor. The cancer cells can spread (metastasize) to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body.

Breast cancer is many women's worst fear. But experts have made great progress in treating cancer. If it is found early, breast cancer can often be cured, and it is not always necessary to remove the breast. (PIA 8) [top]

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