In its aim to bring together children who were screened and saved from the complications of Inborn Errors of Metabolism (IEM), the Department of Health Bicol Center for Health Development held the Reunion of Saved Babies: A Symposium for Patients with IEM from the provinces of Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte. This was held at the Naga Regent Hotel, Naga City, Camarines Sur on October 18, 2023.
IEM refer to rare genetic (inherited) disorders in which the body cannot properly turn food into energy. These may also refer to hormonal imbalances that can be identified through the help of Expanded Newborn Screening (ENBS). Patients with IEM receive regular check-ups and consultations in health care facilities and Satellite Continuity Clinics for the management of their conditions.
“It fills my heart with joy to see these children today, living up to the best of their potential,” Dr. Maita U. Bobis, Head of the Family Health Cluster, DOH Bicol CHD said as she thanked the parents and healthcare workers who supported the ENBS program and helped create healthy and happy children.
Dr. Ferchito L. Avelino, Assistant Regional Director, congratulated the parents and healthcareworkers who gave their all in meeting the needs of the children with IEM, through ENBS and follow-up consultations. Dr. Avelino left the parents with two wishes: 1. to continue bringing their children to follow-up consultations. 2. to encourage other parents to have their children screened through ENBS.
Dr. Mary Ann Cyril Mesalucha, Neonatologist, Bicol Medical Center, further encouraged the parents to spread the word on ENBS to save more babies that may suffer with IEM. Dr. Mesaluche mentioned that ENBS is free and included in the PhilHealth package, which parents can readily avail in any healthcare facility.
The activity proceeded with a talk from Dr. Michelle Semania, Follow-up Head, Bicol Medical Center – Newborn Screening Continuity Clinic. She discussed three of the IEM: Congenital Hypothyroidism, Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, Maple Syrup Urine Disease and Phenylketonuria, which can all be detected through ENBS and managed through testing and follow-up consultations. Dr. Semania also led the follow-up consultation for the patients during the activity.
During the activity, the DOH Bicol CHD recognized the efforts and support of Bicol Region General Hospital and Geriatric Medical Center, Bicol Medical Center, Provincial Health Offices, City Health Offices and Municipal Health Offices in the recall and follow-up of patients under the ENBS program. ARD Avelino, Dr. Bobis, Ms. Twinkle Lorilla (NBS Program Manager) and representatives from the Provincial Development Offices facilitated the awarding of certificates to the said stakeholders.
Testimonials were also given by parents and talents of saved children were showcased during the event.
The DOH Bicol CHD encourages parents and guardians to avail of the Expanded Newborn Screening (ENBS) services at the nearest primary care provider to earlier detect IEM before clinical signs and symptoms appear.
(Source: DOH Bicol CHD)