UP cites Makati City for excellent newborn screening program

Mike Frialde - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The National Institute for Health of the University of the Philippines-Manila has cited Makati City's excellent implementation of its newborn screening program.

The Makati City government has been implementing the program in its three lying-in clinics in Barangays Bangkal, East Rembo and Guadalupe Nuevo.

Dr. Diana Jocelyn Vaño, officer-in-charge of the Makati Health Department, said the newborn screening rates in the said facilities have steadily increased over the past seven years since the program was launched in July 2006.

“All three city-run lying-in clinics have achieved over 90 percent newborn screening rates to date, with Bangkal and East Rembo sustaining it for two consecutive years, thus garnering the Exemplary Achiever’s Award from UP Manila-NIH,” Dr. Vaño said.

For his part, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay lauded the MHD and the management and staff of the three facilities for having brought honor to the city and its people. He also thanked UP Manila-NIH for recognizing the efforts of the city government to promote newborn screening among residents.

“We are thankful to the UP Manila-NIH for its unstinting support to our advocacy for newborn screening that has helped us to make parents realize how vital it is to giving their child a fighting chance to grow up healthy and achieve his or her potential,” Binay said.

The three birthing facilities of Makati were among those feted at the UP Manila-NIH 2013 Newborn Screening Awards held recently at Heritage Hotel Manila. Dr. Elizabeth Medina, physician of East Rembo Lying-in and newborn screening coordinator of MHD, and Maria Lourdes Puson, nurse at Bangkal Lying-in, accepted the awards.

The city government has been an active advocate of newborn screening since 2006 when it launched the program in support of the Newborn Screening Act of 2004, or R.A. 9288. Starting out with 18.87 percent out of total deliveries that year, Makati’s newborn screening rate has stood at 98.89 percent in 2011, 99.58 in 2012, and 99.89 to date.

Newborn screening is a simple method used to screen infants for six treatable diseases caused by congenital metabolic disorders that can cause mental retardation or death. These are Congenital Hypothyrodism, Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, Galactosemia, Phenylketonuria, G6PD deficiency, and Maple Syrup Urine.

Personnel trained by UP Manila-NIH on blood collection and processing perform the screening by extracting a few drops of blood from a baby’s heel using a special filter card. Blood specimens are sent to UP Manila-NIH for testing. The results are usually sent back to the screening facility after seven to 14 working days. Parents of babies with positive results are immediately contacted and referred to the UP Manila-NIH for confirmatory testing.

Newborn screening is covered by PhilHealth, so members can avail of the service free of charge at the city-run birthing clinics. Non-PhilHealth members are charged a fee of P600.

The UP Manila-NIH was created in January 1996 by the UP Board of Regents and was established as a national health research center in 1998 through R.A. 8503. To date, it is a designated training center for special programs of the World Health Organization. It was instrumental in the passage of the Newborn Screening Act of 2004 and the Newborn Hearing Screening Act of 2008.










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