Newborn screening progress in developing countries--overcoming internal barriers

Semin Perinatol. 2010 Apr;34(2):145-55. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2009.12.007.


Newborn screening is an important public health measure aimed at early identification and management of affected newborns thereby lowering infant morbidity and mortality. It is a comprehensive system of education, screening, follow-up, diagnosis, treatment/management, and evaluation that must be institutionalized and sustained within public health systems often challenged by economic, political, and cultural considerations. As a result, developing countries face unique challenges in implementing and expanding newborn screening that can be grouped into the following categories: (1) planning, (2) leadership, (3) medical support, (4) technical support, (5) logistical support, (6) education, (7) protocol and policy development, (8) administration, (9) evaluation, and (10) sustainability. We review some of the experiences in overcoming implementation challenges in developing newborn screening programs, and discuss recent efforts to encourage increased newborn screening through support networking and information exchange activities in 2 regions-the Asia Pacific and the Middle East/North Africa.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa, Northern
  • Asia
  • Developing Countries*
  • Health Planning
  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Middle East
  • Neonatal Screening*
  • Social Marketing