MOH News
MOH Launches Awareness Day Activities of Newborn Early Screening for Disability Reduction
09 November 2015
Dr. Hisham bin Ibrahim Al Khashan, Assistant Deputy Minister for Primary Health Care, has inaugurated the awareness day activities of the National Newborn Early Screening Program (NNSP) for disability reduction, the day before yesterday at Panorama Center, in Riyadh.

Dr. Khashan toured through all of the program sections and listened to a detailed account on the functions, roles and actions undertaken by the medical team in charge of NNSP.


"The program mainly aims to reduce disability rates in the Kingdom by screening all newborns for serious genetic diseases that may cause motor, mental and sensory disabilities, as well as poor growth and premature death," noted Prof. Zuhair bin Nasser Al-Hasnan, NNSP director.


He emphasized that the program ensures earlier detection of diseases, within the first days of the child's life, to begin treatment before symptoms appear and avoid complications, Allah willing.


Furthermore, Al-Hasnan indicated that the incidence rate of the diseases covered by the program in the Kingdom is one per thousand births, which is four times higher than the rates reported in the West.


"Early treatment can substantially prevent disability, Allah willing," said Al-Hasnan, emphasizing the importance of early diagnosis and treatment within the first days of the child's life in order to avoid disability.


He pointed out that the program is keen to screen every newborn, regardless of the family history of hereditary disease, as many children with genetic diseases turn out to have no history of genetic disease in the family.


Additionally, Dr. Zuhair Al-Hasnan noted that NNSP covers 17 genetic diseases, which are not covered by premarital screening program. Therefore, it's important for each child to undergo newborn screening, even though the premarital screening results were good.


In regard to the public interaction with the program, Al-Hasnan indicated that "this is the first NNSP awareness day held nationwide; the event is not exclusive to Riyadh, but covers the other regions of the Kingdom at the same time. The public engagement in the Awareness Day events was positive." He described the audience as being "fantastic," and concluded by saying: "We are confident that these activities will play a big role in raising people awareness of the program importance."


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