THE Department of Health–Center for Health Development–Cordillera Administrative Region (DOH-CHD-CAR) Newborn Screening Team organized the first Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency Parent Forum here.
Health Workers, parents including their children converged May 22 and 23 to form the first G6PD Community Support Group to help parents of children diagnosed to have G6PD Deficiency in the Cordilleras.
The forum targeted families presently with children who tested positive for G6PD, a rare metabolic disorder that could cause mental retardation and even death.
The program was initiated by Dr. Virginia Narciso to educate parents of G6PD positive children on proper parenting skills especially that their children needs special care.
G6PD is an inherited condition where the body does not have enough of the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase that helps the red blood cells (RBC) function normally.
This deficiency can cause homolytic anemia usually after exposure to certain medications such as aspirin, antimalarials, food such as Fava beans, infection or the common mothballs.
Most people with G6PD deficiency don’t have any symptoms while others develop symptoms of anemia only after the RBCs have been destroyed, a condition called hemolysis.
In such cases though, the symptoms disappear once the cause or trigger is removed.
With proper precautions, children with G6PD can lead a normal, healthy and active life.
The program also imparted basic facts and management of G6PD and feeding recommendations for G6PD patients.
G6PD is one of the conditions detected by newborn screening which is mandated by Republic Act 9288 or the Newborn Screening Act of 2004.
Newborn screening is ideally done immediately after 24 hours from birth where a few drops of blood are taken from the infant's heel using the heel prick method.
The blood sample is then blotted on a special filter card and sent to the Newborn Screening Center in Metro Manila.
Newborn screening is now practiced in all hospitals and birthing clinics in Baguio and the Cordilleras. (Paul Rillorta)