What is Newborn Screening?
Newborn screening is a public health service done in each province and territory across Canada. It is a blood test performed shortly after birth, which checks for rare genetic, hormone-related, and metabolic conditions that can lead to serious health problems.
The screening tests for treatable health disorders that are not otherwise found at birth, since they typically show no symptoms in the newborn stage. Newborn screening allows physicians to diagnose infants quickly, and begin appropriate treatment as soon as possible.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Toward a national newborn screening program for rare disorders.
In Canada, newborn screening is under provincial jurisdiction, with each province managing their own newborn screening program. Since individual provinces determine which conditions will be screened, screening varies province by province. This can lead to unequal care given to children across the country, with some children battling a serious genetic condition not being diagnosed in time to provide the proper care, including receiving treatments they need to potentially save their life.
ImmUnity Canada and the Network for Rare Blood Disorder Organizations (NRBDO) have released their recommendations in a report that centres the patient perspective and examines potential roles for the federal government in an equitable pan-Canadian approach to newborn screening for rare diseases.
The Canadian MPS Society was honoured to be part of the consultation process which informed the recommendations. Read the full report at https://www.nrbdo.ca/nbs.html