Newborn Screening for babies
Newborn screening is the first and most important test to be done for the baby. It is a simple procedure that checks the baby for hidden medical conditions that cannot be identified by the physician just by looking at the baby. These conditions if left undetected can lead to serious illness, brain damage or mortality. Newborn screening enables early detection and treatment that can help the baby lead a normal life.
The Newborn Screening Test screens the baby for over 50 conditions under
- Haemoglobinopathies – Genetic disorders resulting in faulty haemoglobin. Includes sickle cell disease, Thalassemia and so on.
- Endocrine Disorders – Conditions causing hormonal excesses or deficiencies. Include Hypothyroidism
- Infectious Diseases
- Carbohydrate Disorders – Conditions affecting the metabolism of carbohydrates. Include Lactose Intolerance
- Inborn Errors of Metabolism – Genetic conditions affecting metabolism
Newborn screening is a mandatory test in over 60 countries including USA, Australia and New Zealand. These countries have an Infant Mortality Rate of less than 10 per 1000 births. However, in India, only less than 1% of infants are screened and every year over 1.6 million babies are born with birth defects. The mortality rate in India is at an alarming 44 per thousand live births.