Newborn Screening (NBS) is Public Health Program in several countries wherein every baby born is screened for a variety of disorders. Economic analysis indicate that the cost of screening all babies born, resulting in early detection and treatment from the first week of birth, far outweighs the cost of detecting and treating these disorders at a later stage.
Robert Guthrie is given much of the credit for pioneering the earliest screening for phenylketonuria in the late 1960s by
pricking a newborn baby's heel on the second day of life on filter paper. Congenital hypothyroidism was the second disease
widely added in the 1970s. The development of tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) screening in the early 1990s led to a large
expansion of potentially detectable congenital metabolic diseases. The American College of Medical Genetics recommended a
uniform panel of diseases that all infants born should be screened for. They also developed an evidence-based review process
for the addition of conditions in the future.
On April 24, 2008, President George W. Bush signed into law the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act of 2007. This act was enacted to increase awareness among parents, health professionals, and the public on testing newborns to identify certain disorders.
NBS is in its early years. There are a handul of cities and states having an established Universal Newborn Screening Program. At present, mostly high risk babies are screened and that too only for a few disorders. This is due to a lack of awareness and the high costs associated with it. Now that is History. With the use of Tandem Mass Spectrometry, pioneered by Pediatrix Screening, which detects for over 45 IEMs with a single test based on a dried blood spot the cost has significantly gone down. NeoGen Labs First Step Newborn Screening Test utilizes this technology and, as a result, has made Newborn Screening affordable to parents in India. Early detection of disorders detectable through First Step is vital. Although the test detects disorders that cannot be cured, early intervention and treatment is beneficial in most cases.
Affected babies are at risk of mental retardation, physical disabilities and even death, if they are not diagnosed and treated early. First Step gives parents the opportunity to protect their baby from the preventable complications of undiagnosed problems. If your baby is affected, NBS can play a key role in allowing your child to live a normal life. Children who are born with these disorders and go unscreened sometimes spend several months, even years, suffering through numerous medical tests to find out what is wrong with them. Some even have extensive hospital stays in intensive care because no one knows what is wrong with them and thus aren't treating them properly. This is because a clinical diagnosis is difficult if these children aren't properly screened.
What we do
Health 'N' Wellness has teamed up with leading diagnostic providers within India to make NBS easily available in Maharashtra and Gujarat HnW helps in counseling of parents and clinicians on the importance of NBS for the newborns. We work with all the major Hospitals and Laboratories in fulfilling their efforts of promoting NBS and saving lives.