The Problem and Its Setting
Newborn Screening is a simple method to find out if your baby has congenital metabolic disorder that may lead to retardation and even death. It is a preventive health service that should be available to all neonates. Newborn Screening no longer refers to the screening test itself, but encompasses the entire element essential to all neonates to have access to a screening system that has optimal quality and performance.DOH,(2006)
Newborn Screening is recognized internationally as an essential preventive public health program for the identification only of disorders among newborns that can affect their long term health detection, diagnosis and treatment for specific genetic disorders. Metabolic infectious congenital disorders can lead to significant reduction of death, disease and associated disabilities. Guthrie,(2000)
In the Philippines, newborn screening program has been mandated by Presidential Proclamation No. 540 signed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2004 in pursuant to the Early Childhood Care and Development Act (ECCD) which aims to promote the rights of children survival, development and special protection of the children with full recognition of the nature of childhood and its specific needs. The advancement of newborn screening in developed countries has succeeded in reducing morbidity and mortality associated with certain congenital disorders. Screening within the first few days after birth allows timely medical intervention for diagnostic patient resulting in more favorable outcomes. Through prompt and appropriate medical management, affected children identified though newborn screening can lead to normal lives. There is still a lack of public awareness concerning the benefits of newborn screening. The recently passed newborn screening act of 2004 will ensure that every newborn in the Philippines is given the opportunity to be offered newborn screening. This policy statement describes the role of the pediatrician, parents, hospital administrators and government. It supports the effort of the Department of Health and the National Institute of Health towards the nationwide implementation of newborn screening. Diane B. Paul,(2008)
Dr. Juanita Basilio, medical officer 7 of the NCDPC said “Newborn Screening is an essential public health strategy that enables the early detection of several inheritable conditions which, if left untreated, could lead to mental retardation or even death. Newborn screening can result to the early diagnosis and treatment of abnormalities which when properly treated and connected can lead to the child’s normal growth and development”.
Dr. Basilio Iso said “there is urgent need to create public awareness on the important of newborn screening. Newborn screening is an integral part of routine newborn care in many countries but in the Philippines, only about 2 percent of newborn are properly screened for detects”. Manila bulletin,(2006) Many of these are metabolic disorders often called "inborn errors of metabolism" that interfere with the body's use of nutrients to maintain healthy tissues and produce energy. Other disorders that screening can detect include problems with hormones or the blood. In general, metabolic and other inherited disorders can hinder an infant's normal physical and mental development in a variety of ways. And parents can pass along the gene for a certain disorder without even knowing that they're carriers. With a simple blood test, doctors often can tell whether newborns have certain conditions that could eventually cause problems. Even though these conditions are considered rare and most babies are given a clean bill of health, early diagnosis and proper treatment can make the difference between lifelong impairment and healthy development....