Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 28 January 2020

Dubai's neonatal screenings catch hundreds of diseases

More than 150,000 newborns have been screened for genetic and congenital disorders over the past 16 years

More than 150,000 babies born in Dubai have been screened for disorders. Vidhyaa for The National
More than 150,000 babies born in Dubai have been screened for disorders. Vidhyaa for The National

Hundreds of potentially fatal medical conditions were detected early during neonatal screening, Dubai's Health Authority said.

More than 150,000 newborns were screened for genetic and congenital disorders between 2003 and 2019. Early detection allows physicians to begin specialised medical treatment in inherited disorders that are not immediately visible.

The screening detected 145 cases of sickle cell disease, 129 cases of congenital hypothyroidism, 59 metabolism disorders, 40 cases of congenital adrenal hyperplasia, 19 cases of phenylketonuria, nine cases of cystic fibrosis and six cases of biotinidase deficiency.

“The early detection and treatment of these disorders is the only way to protect our newborn from mental and physical complications associated with these disorders,” said Dr Fatma Al Olama, the head of the Child Health Section at the authority’s primary healthcare centre.

A drop of blood is taken from the baby’s heel within 48 hours after birth. Screening can identify the presence of more than 50 inherited disorders.

Fewer than a third of developmental disabilities are detected through paediatric exams.

To help diagnosis, parents can download the health authority's app to access the Baraem Early Development Screening Tool, a questionnaire that helps detect developmental delays in children aged nine months to six years old. Its 20 questions assess child development in movement, language, problem solving and social communication at different ages.

Updated: December 8, 2019 08:29 PM

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