CEBU CITY, Oct. 3 (PIA) -- The Department of Health (DOH-7) is urging parents of newborn babies to avail of newborn screening to protect their infants from diseases or viral infections.
During the Kapihan sa PIA held to mark the observation of National Newborn Screening Awareness Week, Jaika Jel Besira, Newborn Nurse Coordinator of DOH-7 Center for Health Development, said newborn screening is important to detect genetic diseases in infants as early as possible.
This procedure is done through a prick of the achilles tendon (kiting) of the baby, where there is a large volume of blood supply.
Dr. Joan Albito from DOH-7 said the screening is also vital to alert parents on the different ways to combat diseases.
Newborn screening in the Philippines started in 1996, and at this year, there are now over 29 diseases that can be detected by the newborn screening process.
It is now mandatory for parents to bring their child to the nearest health care center to avail of newborn screening.
For parents who are members of PhilHealth, newborn screening is free.
There are confirmed cases of diseases detected during the newborn screening process.
Genetic diseases in over 428 babies have been detected as of April 2019, majority of which are congenital hypothyroidism.
It was last month that a polio case was confirmed in the Philippines after years of being free from the disease.
Dr. Van Philip Baton of DOH-7 said it was in 1993 when the last case of polio was recorded in Cebu.
Polio remains a big problem when it comes to the provision of public health care as there has been low immunization coverage for the past years.
Health officials warned the public to watch out for flu-like symptoms when it comes to the polio infection.
The infection can also manifest as paralysis, which would affect the patient for life.
The most dangerous case is when it affects the limbs and muscles of the respiratory system like the diaphragm.
Baton, during the forum, discussed the different precautions against the viral infection, such as taking the oral or injectable polio vaccine and avoid drinking from contaminated water sources.
The vaccination for polio should be given to babies less than five years old.
They can be vaccinated as early as six weeks.
For those who may have forgotten if they have undergone vaccination or have lost their vaccination records are encouraged to get vaccinated as early as possible.
With the emergence of "anti-vaxxers", or those who are against vaccination, Baton said it is important for them to keep an open mind.
"Not getting your babies vaccinated does not only affect your kid, but the entire population is put at risk," said Baton. (smb/PIA7)