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Middle East and North Africa 'needs central newborn screening institution'
A new central institution for newborn screening (NBS) needs to be established in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, experts have stated.
Summing up at the end of a conference on NBS hosted by the Hamad Medical Corporation, leading experts in the field within the region noted that more needs to be done to improve maternal and newborn health facilities.
In particular, participants at the event, which was held in conjunction with the National Institute of Health and Centre for Disease Control in the US, heard how the establishment of a central NBS institution would also help with the surveillance of rare conditions and help provide training for the next generation of maternal health specialists.
"We strongly agreed during our discussions that there should be a central body similar to the World Health Organisation's MENA regional office, that should be in charge of regulating NBS programmes across the region and also have the capabilities to provide trainings for doctors and other health professionals handling the screening processes," Dr Fouad al-Shaban from the Shafallah Medical Genetic Centre, explained to the Gulf Times.
He added that a new programme of screening newborn babies being rolled out in Qatar could soon be adopted by many more countries across the region if it is seen to be a success.
Earlier this month, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington reported that global maternal mortality rates dropped over the course of 2009.
Posted by Alexandra George
World Congress 2015