Arab News – Around 21 maternity hospitals in the Kingdom are not conducting early screening tests for newborns, sources revealed.
The number accounts for 11.5 percent out of a total of 186 maternity hospitals operating in Kingdom.
The sources explained that these hospitals failed to apply the global program, which was introduced to the Kingdom 11 years ago.
Commenting on the issue, Dr. Mohammad Al-Saidi, director of health programs and chronic diseases department of the Ministry of Health, said that all public and private hospitals are expected to adhere to the checks according to a time plan.
“The application of the program, since it was launched 11 years ago, was scheduled to be carried out in three stages. Now the second stage has almost finished, but our focus is to force private hospitals to carry out the tests for the newborns,” he said.
The newborn early screening checks can detect and prevent physical and intellectual disabilities, as well as genetic disorders that cause disabilities.
“Screening specimen should be collected within 24-72 hours after birth to give accurate results. A range of 17 to 25 diseases, mostly genetic, are checked. So the procedure should be obligatory for all hospitals,” recommended Sherine Abul Gadayel, a chemical biologist.

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