The Department of Health (DOH) encourages mothers to submit their babies to newborn screening programs for early detection and treatment of diseases.

Dr. Matthew Medrano, DOH MIMAROPA officer IV, said during the virtual presser Thursday that it is important to have newborn screening for early identification of disorders that can lead to mental retardation and death. 

He said screening is automatically conducted 24 hours after the birth.

In 2021, 29,644 babies were screened in MIMAROPA, of which three out of 19 were detected for endocrine disorders, and 126 out of 2/5 babies were detected for thalassemia or hemoglobinopathies.

“Very important na makita ang mga congenital disorders at para maagapan. Akala natin minsan normal sila lalo na ang mag metabolic disorders Hindi natin alam na may disorder kung hindi nakikita ang symptoms na kung minsan ay huli na,” Medrano said. 

Medrano also reported that to save more babies, the DOH has approved the full implementation of the expanded newborn screening (ENBS) through the DOH Administrative Order No. 2014-0045A. 

The ENBS increases to more than 28 groups of disorders to be detected in screening, including endocrine disorders, disorders of amino acid and organic acid metabolism, urea cycle defects, biotin metabolism, and cystic fibrosis disorders.

“Kaya ito ang kasama sa mga diseases na [nadedetect sa screening] kasi ito po ang laganap sa Pilipinas at available ang treatment,” he said. 

Newborn screening fee amounting to P1,700 is covered by PhilHealth, he said. 

He also discouraged home delivery and only gave birth at accredited hospitals or birthing homes for proper health care, including screening for babies.

“We are not advocating home delivery dahil dapat ay sa mga birthing facility lang. Sa mga munisipyo ay mayroon tayong mga birthing facilities at mayroong available na newborn screening kit pero kung minsan ay hindi maiwasan na hindi doon nakakapanganak ay nire-refer sila sa facilities na may newborn screening,” he said.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.