ISSN - 0973-0958

Pediatric Oncall Journal View Article

Newborn Screening in India: What are the Challenges and Pitfalls?
R Kishore Kumar.
Senior Consultant Neonatologist and Paediatrician, Cloudnine Hospitals, India.
Neonatal screening is the most important preventive public health programme of the 21st century. It is implemented in majority of the developed countries. Most of the developing countries are following suit. In India “it is still in its neonatal stage and yet to evolve into childhood”. Currently there is no government funded neonatal screening programme for the masses. It may seem to be an extra financial burden on the country’s resources, but when we consider the large population of one billion and a high birth rate, the burden of metabolic disorders with preventable long term morbidity could be very high. According to World Health Organization (WHO), 140 million children are born every year and 5 million die in the first month of life in developing countries. (1,2) Four percent of the population in India are mentally retarded and 5-15% of sick newborns are thought to have a metabolic problem. (1) Thus mass screening will be useful to prevent disability and death by early intervention, follow-up and counselling.

The author describes the challenges & probable pitfalls in the implementation of such a programme in India.

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