MOH News
Alaama Launches the National Program for Early Screening of CCHD in Newborns
23 November 2015
His Excellency the Deputy Minister of Health for Therapeutic Services, Dr. Tareef Alaama, has inaugurated today, Monday, the National Program for Early Screening of Critical Congenital Heart Defects (CCHD) in Newborns before being discharged from hospitals. The Program aims at detecting the congenital heart defects which cause sudden death or chronic complications in newborns, Allah forbid.  
The program also aims at creating a database to identify the children with congenital heart defects in the Kingdom, particularly at the Ministry of Health's (MOH) hospitals, in addition to health education for workers in the field of neonatal care, as well as educating parents on the importance of preventive screening.    
The advisor to the Deputy Minister of Health for Therapeutic Services and Director of Upgrading Services for Newborns Program, Dr. Fahad Alaql, has pointed out that scientific studies shows that congenital heart diseases affect approximately from 7 to 9 per 1000 newborns, a proportion which exceeds that of the congenital diseases affecting other organs separately, and the congenital heart defects in about 25-30%  of these newborns are detected by the parents or when visiting a doctor to vaccinate their baby after the first month of birth, and often the detection of the disease would be too late and difficult to treat.
He added that there are recommendations to implement this program by many scientific associations and prestigious international organizations, such as the American Pediatric Society (APS), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), affiliated to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Joint Commission International (JCI), given that the program has been implemented in some countries such as the USA, Sweden, Britain, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Germany, Norway and Denmark.  
He indicated that the program has been accredited by the MOH, and comprises several elements; such as providing devices for pulse-measuring and ratio of oxygen saturation in blood sample for detecting the congenital heart defects, creating e-program for recording information, online networking with unified database, and training and qualifying doctors and nurses working in the field of neonatal care, through key workshops and lectures delivered by international speakers from outside the Kingdom. The program also includes organizing workshops to train the nurses on the way to perform screening and explain the national program, as well as qualifying them for the screening protocol, designing and printing educational brochures and posters designated for the medical staff at the neonatal wards, in addition to designing and printing educational brochures on the importance of this screening for parents and community in general.   
It is worth mentioning that the screening is accurate and fast, which takes just three minutes per a baby. Over and above, the National Program for Early Screening of CCHD in Newborns before being discharged from hospitals comes as part of the MOH's keenness to upgrade performance in all medical sections and within the framework of providing the evidence-based health care.

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