India plans universal screening of newborns amid logistical challenges
Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7582
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It is indeed a very welcome policy for such screening is essential to avoid many children growing up with a metabolic defect that could cause mental or physical (growth) retardation. Before any policy is considered for implementation, the following need to be assessed and evaluated:
1. Whether such facilities are available in the district hospitals or say in major city hospitals?
2. If facilities are available whether technically competent staff are there to carry out such investigations
3. If technical staff are available whether routine diagnostic procedures are in place
4. Whether these techniques are assessed for quality and reproducibility
5. if available whether such procedures could extended to all the segments of society- in other words -is it cost effective and affordable.
These are some of the issues to be considered as no standard procedures are available - particularly in in rural areas where such facilities are more important and an awareness of such screening procedures must be created in the population.
These are some of the logistical hurdles that need to be taken care of.
Just I like to mention here that a super-speciality hospital has been inaugurated with multimillion dollar instruments that are not being put into practice. What we require is human resources who are qualified, trained or proficient in handling such instruments as tandem mass spectrometry and other sophisticated instrumentation. There has to be a team effort between clinicians and non-clinical professionals to achieve the goals we set. In a situation where there is divide between clinical and basic sciences, we need to bring in a team spirit and technical know-how before we kick-start a new program.
Competing interests: None declared
Faculty of Medicine, Benghazi University, Benghazi, Libya
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