, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 35-45
Date: 21 Jan 2012

Consolidating newborn screening efforts in the Asia Pacific region

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Abstract

Many of the countries in the Asia Pacific Region, particularly those with depressed and developing economies, are just initiating newborn screening programs for selected metabolic and other congenital disorders. The cultural, geographic, language, and economic differences that exist throughout the region add to the challenges of developing sustainable newborn screening systems. There are currently more developing programs than developed programs within the region. Newborn screening activities in the Asia Pacific Region are particularly important since births there account for approximately half of the world’s births. To date, there have been two workshops to facilitate formation of the Asia Pacific Newborn Screening Collaboratives. The 1st Workshop on Consolidating Newborn Screening Efforts in the Asia Pacific Region occurred in Cebu, Philippines, on March 30–April 1, 2008, as a satellite meeting to the 7th Asia Pacific Conference on Human Genetics. The second workshop was held on June 4–5, 2010, in Manila, Philippines. Workshop participants included key policy-makers, service providers, researchers, and consumer advocates from 11 countries with 50% or less newborn screening coverage. Expert lectures included experiences in the United States and the Netherlands, international quality assurance activities and ongoing and potential research activities. Additional meeting support was provided by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. National Newborn Screening and Genetics Resource Center, the International Society for Neonatal Screening, and the March of Dimes. As part of both meeting activities, participants shared individual experiences in program implementation with formal updates of screening information for each country. This report reviews the activities and country reports from two Workshops on Consolidating Newborn Screening Efforts in the Asia Pacific Region with emphasis on the second workshop. It also updates the literature on screening activities and implementation/expansion challenges in the participating countries.

Members of the Working Group the Asia Pacific Society for Human Genetics on Consolidating Newborn Screening Efforts in the Asia Pacific Region are listed at the end of the paper.