Newborn screening test (also known as Guthrie test) is one of the successful innovations in the modern era. It is a procedure where in the newborn infants are pricked at the heel to test their blood for rare genetic, endocrine and metabolic conditions that can be harmful or serious. Also tested for hearing loss before discharge from the hospital. These screening tests has the potential to identify risk of certain diseases before the clinical symptoms appear. Thus, early detection and treatment can prevent mental retardation, spasticity, serious illness, and premature death.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), every year 140 million children are born and out of which 5 million die in the first month of life in developing countries. Four percent of the India population are mentally retarded and 5-15% of sick newborns are thought to have a metabolic problem.
Disorders which can be detected through Newborn Screening test,
- Biotinidase deficiency
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
- Congenital primary hypothyroidism
- G6PD deficiency
- Cystic fibrosis
- Disorders of amino acids, organic acids and fatty acid oxidation by tandem mass spectroscopy
- Sickle cell anemia
To avoid these anomalies which are hidden at birth, many non-profit organizations are developed taking care of all the newborn screening tests. The main goal of these organizations are to educate the parents, paediatric healthcare workers, lawmakers, and institutional policymakers. Also the educational programs accentuate the importance of newborn screening through comprehensive testing to identify disorders and initiate treatment promptly when necessary.
There are many campaigns like the “Be Bold, Wear Gold Campaign” to create awareness into the public regarding the newborn screening tests. In the month of September, the newborn screening community (which includes families, advocates, state health departments, legislators, and state laboratories) rallied around the principle that all babies deserve a healthy start. As a support to the campaign, members of the community wear a color gold and gold pins throughout the month.
To avoid such serious diseases and save the newborns spread the information (mouth publicity) about the screening test to all the members of your family, friends, colleagues etc. Mass education, media propagation, and training centres also can raise the awareness. Along with these share the stories you know and spread the awareness in the individuals wherein one can keep their newborns happy and safe.