DHA raises awareness about importance of newborn early screening in diagnosing genetic diseases

In a bid to better treat newborns who suffer from genetic diseases, the Dubai Health Authority, DHA, is raising awareness about the newborn early screening tests available at its hospitals and clinics, which can detect more than 30 genetic diseases before the symptoms even start appearing on the newborn as he/she grows older.

Dr. Mahmoud El Halik, Consultant Neonatologist and Head of the Pediatric Department at Latifa Hospital, said that Latifa Hospital constantly strives to raise awareness about the importance of early screening as it can detect more than 30 genetic diseases before the symptoms start appearing on the children.

He said the newborns undergo the screen between 24 -48 hours after they are born. If they are already discharged then they would be given an appointment at the DHA's Primary Health Care Centers.

The test is conducted by taking a drop of blood from the heel of the newborn’s foot and testing it to find out if the new born might suffer from any genetic diseases that can affect the physical and mental growth of children or even lead to death in some cases.

Dr. El Halik said early screening can detect thalassemia, sickle-cell anaemia, cystic fibrosis and many other diseases, which early detection and treatment can be beneficial.

He said that early detection screenings are available at DHA hospitals and clinics. He added that if tested positive then further investigation would be made in order to provide him/her with the needed treatment.

He added that 100 per cent of newborns at Latifa hospital undergo this test to help parents take early percussions and begin early treatment in case the child requires it.