All set for Expanded Screening Program

Updated 21 January 2015
Originally posted 21 June 2014


Written by VM Mendoza
Published in Newborn Screening, The Official Newsletter of the NSRC

Photo credits: Newborn Screening Reference Center

Photo: Newborn Screening Center-NIH,
UP Manila
To save more babies, the Department of Health (DOH) Advisory Committee on Newborn Screening (ACNBS) has approved the implementation of the expanded newborn screening. Starting January 2015, the expanded panel will include hemoglobinopathies and additional metabolic disorders, namely, organic acid, fatty acid oxidation, and amino acid disorders. All these conditions can be treated at birth, avoiding complications of no treatment.

Data of Filipino newborns screened in the California newborn screening program from 2005 to 2011 have prompted the formal recommendation of expanded newborn screening program in the Philippines to the ACNBS on January 16, 2012. The data revealed that of the 111,127 Filipino newborns screened, more than 20 disorders were identified to be present—a mix of endocrinologic and metabolic conditions as well as hemoglobinopathies. The necessary confirmatory centers and network for referral, management, and treatment of patients are now being set up in strategic areas in the country. The DOH already has a list of nominated hospitals to house the Newborn Screening Follow-up Clinics (NFCs) . The establishment of NFCs will ensure capable management of identified positive cases.

Initially, one NFC will be setup per region. The NFCs will coordinate with a team of specialists and subspecialists. Due to the shortage of some of the subspecialists, teleconsultations will be one of the features of this clinic. A more intensive advocacy to reach the general public will be launched and it will be targeting provincial and marginalized urban communities with a high rate of homebirth needs. A new set of campaign materials will be released, emphasizing the value of responsible parenthood.

Expanded newborn screening will be optional and will be offered to parents in all participating facilities with the following options:

Option 1: Six (6) disorders (CH, CAH, GAL, PKU, G6PD, and MSUD) at P 550.
Option 2: The full complement of the disorders at P 1,500

The cost of newborn screening, which is now at P 550, is presently included in the newborn care package for members of PhilHealth. There are ongoing discussions with PhilHealth management to increase the subsidy for the expanded newborn screening. VMendoza

Read the Full Paper:
Padilla, C. and T. Aguirre. 2013. Enhancing case detection on selected inherited disorders through expanded newborn screening in the Philippines. Acta Medica Philippines Vol. 46(4)-47(1)

Photo: Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health-Philippines
Ms. Vina Mendoza is the Managing Editor of Newborn Screening, the official newsletter and bimonthly publication of the Newborn Screening Reference Center (NSRC)- National Institutes of Health, UP Manila.

Visit, the Official Website of the Newborn Screening Reference Center to get the latest copy of Newborn Screening.