Screening of newborns made mandatory in State: Khader

Screening of newborns made mandatory in State: Khader

Minister for Health and Family welfare U T Khader said that a list of seven diagnostic treatments should be done within 48 hours of child birth to avoid genetic and metabolism-related disorders that might lead to complications as the child grows up.

He said this after inaugurating a Rs 3-crore newborn screening machine and Thermal Ablation of Endometrium at the C V Raman Nagar General Hospital in the City on Saturday.
 Khader said that screening of newborn babies would be offered free of cost at government hospitals for early diagnosis of genetic disorders. “As many as 2,000 blood samples can be screened per day. Over 50,000 blood samples of the neonates can be tested in one month. This will help early detection of diseases, making treatment more efficient,” he added.

This 20-minute procedure draws four drops of blood and it has to be done within 48 hours of birth. Screening of samples from across the State would be done if sent by courier. If samples are received from government hospitals, the test would be done for free while private hospitals would be charged a nominal fee.

The Health minister, speaking to reporters in Mangaluru on Saturday, said that the fully automatic machine can detect five blood-related diseases including thyroid, enzyme, genetic and fertility problems using the blood sample. The blood samples would be collected using blotting paper in respective hospitals and sent to Bengaluru and the report would be sent via e-mail, he explained.

The minister informed that the government has issued a notification, in this regard, on Saturday, and it would be implemented at the earliest. The screening of the baby must be done before discharge from the hospital. The responsibility of the whole process has been entrusted to a private agency on a turnkey basis. The National Health Mission (NHM) would fund the scheme.

The facility will also be made available in private hospitals  at minimum cost. The screeing fee would be fixed after an interaction with the private hospital administrations, he said.

Karnataka is the second state after Delhi to have taken the initiative. Neonates can be screened for Glucose-6-phosphate Dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD deficiency), Phenylketonuria (PKU), Hyperekplexia, Congenital thyroid abnormalities, Phenylketonuria, galactosemia, Congenital adrenal hyperplasia and Biotinidase deficiency.

On Thermal Ablation of Endometrium, the minister said that the State government would provide Thermal Ablation treatment for needy women at C V Raman Hospital in Bengaluru for free.

The treatment can cure the problems in uterus without surgery within 15 minutes. The facility would be extended to other districts at the earliest, he said.

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