All for Life
Launch of Neonatal screening (New-born Screening)
Newborn screening (neonatal screening) is now available at Wellkin Hospital. But what is it exactly for?
The goal of Neonatal Screening is to detect and prevent rare and severe diseases in infants. This service that is now available at Wellkin Hospital. Dr. Faeza Soobadar, Pediatrician, Neonatologist and Head of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Wellkin Hospital tells us more about the benefits. This screening prevents many physical and mental disorders, even deaths in toddlers. “Neonatal screening is part of the preventive medicine of newborns that brings a real benefit. It’s a process in which infants undergo a thorough medical examination during their first few weeks of life, “says Dr. Faeza Soobadar.
Neonatal screening, can detect a number of rare diseases that are not clinically visible during the neonatal period. The goal is to prevent or limit the occurrence of serious manifestations and complications due to certain types of diseases whose symptoms are not visible at birth. Some of these symptoms occur around the ninth or tenth month of the child. Of course, treatment is possible at that time, but there will be consequences that will already be present.”
Of the 70 rare diseases that can be detected through neonatal screening, Wellkin Hospital will focus on only five initially. “Screening is based on the most common pathologies in newborns or in the countries where they are found.” Among the five diseases involved, there is congenital hypothyroidism and cystic fibrosis. “1 birth in 4,000 is affected by these diseases and it is alarming in the neonatal world. Congenital hypothyroidism, which is quite common, is an abnormality in the development of the thyroid gland or an abnormality of its functioning. This can lead to mental retardation, learning difficulties, stunted growth, among other things, if there is no early management, “says Dr. Faeza Soobadar.
As for cystic fibrosis, it affects cells lining different organs such as the digestive tract, lungs and airways, among others. “If there is no neonatal screening, the child grows up with this disease and frequently develops respiratory infections leading to hospitalization and these infections automatically affect his lungs. So when the diagnosis is late, the consequences are already present and this limits the effectiveness of the treatment. ”
Moreover, so that the treatments can start as soon as possible, the results of the tests are known very quickly, underlines the pediatrician. “We make sure they are available a week after the exam. For now, the clinic offers a mass screening for newborns that will be done once a week, so it may be a large group. In any case, we favor the reactivity about screening in infants.”
If the result shows the presence of one of the five diseases concerned, the file is sent to the doctor for further testing because it is essential to confirm the diagnosis. Then, the care is put in place quickly: “It goes from the information session with the parents to the quick programming of the appropriate treatment. Prompt care will allow the child’s life to change positively as soon as possible and the after-effects that may be obstacles to his growth or even death can be ruled out. ”
Neonatal screening thus enables children with rare diseases to have the necessary care and then to evolve as normally as possible. “Parents do not have to worry. Because screening has no side effects on infants and in most cases the results are normal. If it’s the opposite, we’re doing everything to give the child a better future, “concludes Dr. Faeza Soobadar. Early detection means better chances of healing.