Councilor, women's group mull newborn screening ordinance

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Councilor Aizel Macalino proposes to make a comprehensive ordinance for the implementation of newborn screening among young Fernandinos.

Macalino with Quota International Pampanga held a committee hearing Thursday at the City Hall here in a bid to come up with the said ordinance.

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Macalino said the ordinance aims to ensure every child's health from birth through the newborn screening implementation.

However, in the initial meeting, Quota International Pampanga members the queried about the availability of funding from the National Government as there is already a national law for the implementation of newborn screening.

Quota International Pampanga President Myra Manabat said newborn screening is an essential public health strategy that enables early detection of several metabolic disorders that could lead to mental retardation if not treated early.

It has been an integral part of routine newborn care as mandated by Republic Act 9288 otherwise known as the Newborn Screening Act of 2004.

"However, the funding is a major question since the National Government has already allocated funding for the law. It would be a great help if the ordinance would be able to access this funding," Manabat said.

According to reports, public hospitals in Pampanga have little equipment to facilitate newborn screenings. The low performances of the facilities in newborn screening in the province is due to the increasing numbers of indigent patients and lack of information and education of parents regarding importance of newborn screening.

In line with this, the proposed ordinance aims to implement all the aspects of newborn screening.

Quota International Pampanga and Macalino agreed to conduct a new round of talks with health officials here to determine the funding resources for the program. (Ian Ocampo Flora)
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