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BONTOC, Mountain Province – Two years after the free newborn screening ordinance of Bontoc was enacted, a total of 29 infants born at home and in birthing clinics were tested for possible disorders.
The newborn screenings administered to the 29 infants resulted negative for any possible disorders.
Ordinance No. 310, S. 2018, authored by Councilor Alsannyster Patingan and passed by the Sangguniang Bayan mandates the municipal government unit to subsidize the cost of newborn screening administered on infants born outside the hospital.
In 2019, free newborn screenings were administered by the personnel of the Municipal Health Office (MHO) to 10 infants, including two in Barangay Dalican, one in Bontoc Ili, three in Can-eo, two in Guina-ang, and two in Mainit.
In 2021, 14 infants availed of the program to include five in Dalican, three in Mainit, three in Can-eo, one Guina-ang, one in Bontoc Ili and one in Tocucan.
For the year 2021, five newborns were screened covering three in Mainit, one in Guina-ang, and one in Alab.
According to Jessica Lyn Patingan of the MHO, parents from the said barangays were very accommodating and willing to have their babies be screened since it is free.
Supporting the aim of the Department of Health which is to minimize or eradicate cases of mental retardation or infant mortality rate as a result of congenital disorders or deficiencies, Patingan emphasized that it is crucial to screen newborns after their first 24 hours of life for them to live a healthy and fruitful life.
“Early detection of diseases allows health professionals to administer treatment to mitigate and control the effects. The free newborn screening also helped the parents to become at ease knowing that their child is healthy and free from any congenital disorder,” she added.
With an annual budget of P35, 000, 18 kits amounting to P1, 750 each are purchased yearly. The remaining amount from the budget is used for other expenses like courier fees and fees incurred in the newborn screening center.
Mayor Franklin Odsey is delighted that the free newborn screening program is serving its purpose especially that home deliveries and delivery in barangay birthing clinics still occur, particularly in far-flung barangays. This is due to limited means to travel to hospital days in advance to prepare for hospital delivery.
“It is the government’s mandate to protect and promote the rights of children to survival and to provide them an opportunity to live a full and healthy development as individuals. The free newborn screening is our gift to our children and the next generation,” Odsey added. By Christy Che-es and Alpine L. Killa