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Healthcare Issues / 29 Apr 2019

Ministry of Health and Prevention keen to provide early detection services for neonatal genetic diseases

Ministry of Health and Prevention keen to provide early detection services for neonatal genetic diseases

In line with the UAE’s efforts to provide comprehensive and innovative health services in accordance with the highest standards of excellence, professionalism and leadership in the health sector, the Ministry of Health & Prevention (MOHAP) has announced that it continue provides early detection services for neonatal diseases. MOHAP has revealed that its Laboratory for genetic & neonatal screening services is the only facility of its kind to provide the neonatal screening testing on a national scale for all new-borns in the UAE--from both government and private segments.

Enable to detection of 40 genetic diseases

His Excellency (H.E.) Hussein Abdel Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Undersecretary for Health Centers and Clinics explained that the goals of the new born Screening Program are to ensure that all UAE new-borns are screened, and all affected infants receive appropriate confirmatory testing, counselling, and treatment to avoid physical and mental disabilities and reduce mortality. The new born screening provides the opportunity for appropriate treatment--even before the health problem will affect the development of the child, mentally and physically. 

He noted that the diseases that are examined include 40 genetic diseases in accordance with international standards. These are "Phenylketonuria, Endocrine insufficiency, Sickle cell anaemia, Congenital malformations, Biotin deficiency disease, Diseases of amino acids, organic and fatty (mass spectrometer), Glactosemia, Other tests such as cardiac examination to detect critical congenital deformities of the heart and early screening of hearing disorders for newborns to detect hereditary deafness.

The Ministry provides the service based on a specified fee structure and in case a genetic disease is detected, the laboratory will immediately contact the parents to proceed with treatment as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed.

He added that the plans for the future development of the program is to increase the coverage of children exanimated by 99 per cent in 2021. He also pointed out that the Ministry is preparing a draft resolution to be submitted to the UAE Cabinet, in cooperation with local and private health authorities, requiring health facilities to examine new-borns within the first 72 hours of its birth.

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