Newborn screening in Australia and New Zealand

Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2003;34 Suppl 3:69-70.


Newborn screening began in Australia and New Zealand in the mid-1960's as local and pilot programs and implemented as country or state-wide programs around 1970. There are five programs covering all Australia and one for New Zealand. All screening programs are fully government funded, as is treatment for the conditions found by the screening programs and newborn screening is a universally adopted policy funded by the government. Some have additional involvement in program advisory committees. There are no major problems sustaining existing screening, however, some programs have financial problems with funding for new equipment. Other problems include storage and other uses of residual dried blood samples; consent issues; protocols for action after screening and introduction of expanded (tandem mass spectrometry) screening. New activities vary from program to program--working towards expanded newborn screening and collaborative projects for the evaluation of this screening and development of screening for lysosomal storage disorders. All programs are working towards automation of punching and testing and increased automated data handling and reporting.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / diagnosis*
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Laboratories
  • Neonatal Screening / standards*
  • Neonatal Screening / trends
  • New Zealand
  • Program Development*
  • Public Health Administration*