BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Department of Health (DOH-CAR) revealed ninety-six percent of newborn children born in the different health facilities are now being subjected to mandatory newborn screening to detect congenital diseases that might compromise their growth and development.
Dra. Virginia Narciso, DOH-CAR Medical Officer IV, said the increase in newborn children being subjected to the mandatory screening is an offshoot of the agency’s intensified campaign for mothers to voluntarily allow their newborn children to undergo the mandatory screening to be able to detect congenital diseases that need immediate medical attention.
Narciso revealed prior to the implementation of the mandatory newborn screening, the children subjected to the screening was around 89 percent that is why there had been a highprevalence of babies suffering from congenital illnesses that are discovered late.
“We will continue to sustain our efforts to achieve a 100-percent accomplishment for the screening of newborn babies so that possible congenital illnesses could be detected and proper medical attention could be provided. We want newborn babies to be healthy at birth so that they will be able to grow and become productive individuals in our respective communities,” Narciso stressed.
The DOH-CAR official revealed there are already 28 possible congenital illnesses among newborn babies that could be detected by the expanded screening program and it is still best for parents to have their newborn babies be subjected to the screening for the early detection of possible illnesses.
According to her, the earlier screening could only detect 6 congenital illnesses.
Further, she added the availability of rural health facilities in various parts of the region also contributed in convincing parents to deliver their babies in the hospitals and for them to subject their children to the required newborn screening.
Earlier, the health department made it a policy for all newborn babies to undergo the mandatory expanded newborn screening primarily geared towards identifying possible congenital diseases that might affect the growth of the child.
Narciso appealed to pregnant mothers to deliver their babies in the various rural health facilities in their respective places and subsequently allow their babies to be screened because it will not affect the health and condition of the babies but it is geared towards pinpointing possible complications that might compromise their growth.
She is optimistic that more mothers, especially those in the countryside, will voluntarily allow their newborn babies to undergo the mandatory expanded newborn screening because it will be the health of their babies that will be at stake in the future./By Dexter A. See