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Establishment of the First Newborn Screening Program in the People's Democratic Republic of Laos

25 Mar 2013

Objectives: The People’s Democratic Republic of Laos belongs to the minority of countries worldwide without an established newborn bloodspot screening (NBS) system.

Methods: In 2008, we initiated a pilot project of a neonatal screening system in the delivery suites of the Laotian capital, Vientiane. Samples were analysed for thyrotropin-stimulating hormone and 17-hydroxyprogesterone.

Results: Altogether 11 362 samples were taken; an initially high recall rate dropped eventually to just above 4%. Two cases of hypothyroidism and one case of congenital adrenal hyperplasia were identified and received timely treatment.

Conclusions: In summary, we have demonstrated the feasibility of establishing an NBS system in a low-resource setting as prevalent in Laos. Obstacles for the establishment of a general NBS covering the whole country include the question of financial cover, treatment costs, and adequate teaching and supervision of technicians and doctors.

25 March 2013

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Journal of Tropical Pediatrics