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PIA Press Release

LGU-run hospitals accredited for newborn screening

by A. Lumaque

Roxas City (26 October) -- At least three district hospitals in the province have been accredited by the Department of Health (DOH) to perform newborn screening (NBS) process among infants to help save babies from possible inherited diseases.

These are Tapaz, Dao and Mambusao district hospitals in addition to the private hospitals here duly accredited by DOH in compliance with Republic Act 9288 known as the Newborn Screening Act of 2004.

NBS is a simple procedure to find out if a baby has a congenital metabolic disorder that may lead to mental retardation and even death if left untreated. It is a simple process using a heel prick method which extracts blood specimen from the baby's heel and blotted on a special absorbent filter card for NBS laboratory examination.

An on-going NBS orientation is also being conducted by the DOH to 16 Rural Health Units (RHU) in the province as initial requirement for accreditation.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is pushing for the inclusion of "newborn screening" into the government's national action plan for infants.

"We should include newborn screening in the national action plan for infants," Arroyo said during a roundtable discussion last October 23 at Malacaņang.

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 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 a roundtable discussion - 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. (PIA) [top]

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