The Importance of Newborn Screening

Today, every newborn child in the hospital or any health facility is required to undergo newborn screening. This is one way to improve child health in different countries. The screening allows fir early detection of disorders. On this way, health institutions with the help of parents may know and do some medical interventions if detected and needed. Its goal mainly is to give all newborns a chance to live normal lives and safeguard them to reach their full potential.

Newborn screening is defined as a simple procedure to find out if baby has a congenital metabolic disorder that may lead to mental retardation and even death if left untreated.

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So how is the test of newborn screening being done?

First is the screening should be done within 48 hours or at least 24 hours from birth but not later than 3 days after complete delivery. The procedure is a newborn placed in intensive care may be exempted from the 3-day requirement but must be tested by 7 days of age.

After this, a few drops of blood is drawn from pricking the baby’s heel. Then it is blotched on a special absorbent card and dried for at least 4 hours. This procedure may be done by the physician, nurse, midwife, or medical technologist.

So, if a screening test suggests a problem, the baby’s doctor/ pediatrician will follow up with further testing. If those tests confirm a problem, the doctor may refer the baby to a specialist for treatment. Following doctor’s treatment plan can save the baby from lifelong health-related and developmental problems.

This is a very significant test that every newborn child has to undergo. Some babies, especially those living in the far flung areas, where health facility and institution are inaccessible, thus mothers do their labor/delivery at home; they will not have access to this test, thus giving them limited access to quality health care and services.

Leaders of all countries should ensure that every born child is able to exercise his/her rights to proper health care and services. A child has every right to live safe and healthy, right?