Hussein Abdel Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Undersecretary for Health Centers and Clinics, explained that the goals of the newborn Screening Program is to ensure that all UAE new-borns are screened, and all affected infants receive appropriate confirmatory testing, counseling, and treatment to avoid physical and mental disabilities and reduce mortality.
The newborn screening provides the opportunity for appropriate treatment–even before the health problem will affect the development of the child, mentally and physically.
He noted that the diseases that are examined include 40 genetic diseases in accordance with international standards. These are:Phenylketonuria; Endocrine insufficiency;Sickle cell anemia;Congenital malformations; Biotin deficiency disease; Diseases of amino acids, organic and fatty (mass spectrometer) and Galactosemia.
Other tests such as cardiac examination to detect critical congenital deformities of the heart and early screening of hearing disorders for newborns to detect hereditary deafness.
The Ministry provides the service based on a specified fee structure and in case a genetic disease is detected, the laboratory will immediately contact the parents to proceed with treatment as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed.
He added that the plans for the future development of the program are to increase the coverage of children exanimated by 99 per cent in 2021. He also pointed out that the Ministry is preparing a draft resolution to be submitted to the UAE Cabinet, in cooperation with local and private health authorities, requiring health facilities to examine new-borns within the first 72 hours of its birth.