Infants to be screened for four congenital metabolic disorders

The newborn screening programme, under which all newborns will be mandatorily screened for four congenital metabolic disorders, will be implemented in 44 government hospitals in the State in February, Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar has said. He was addressing a meeting of district medical officers from across the State here on Wednesday.

Newborns will be screened for four metabolic disorders, which if undetected and untreated could have irreversible consequences for young children. Infants are to be screened for congenital hypothyroidism, phenylketonuria (PKU), congenital adrenal hyperplasia and Glucose 6 phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, all of which can affect brain development and lead to mental retardation if detected late or left untreated.

Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have already implemented this mandatory screening programme for newborns. The Iron and Folic Acid (IFA) supplementation programme for tackling anaemia in children and adolescents would be launched in February in all schools, Mr. Sivakumar said.

Under the programme, all school-going children from Class VI to Class XII will be given weekly supplementation of iron and folic acid tablets on a fixed day. As for adolescent girls who had dropped out of school, anganwadi workers in each locality would distribute the nutritional supplements.

Mr. Sivakumar also said that preventive measures would be adopted early to prevent the outbreak of water-borne and other infectious diseases in the State during the summer months.

He said that the orders regarding the implementation of the Right to Service policy in the Health Department would soon be released.

  • Iron and Folic Acid supplementation scheme to be launched in schools

  • Steps to prevent water-borne diseases during summer