About 60,000 children were examined as part of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s initiative for the early detection of genetic diseases in new-borns and the provision of free treatment under the larger ‘100 Million Health’ initiative that was launched on 13 July, Egypt’s Ministry of Health and Population announced on Tuesday.
In a statement, Hossam Abdel Ghaffar — the Official Spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Population — explained that the initiative, in its first phase, detected 19 genetic diseases in new-borns in the nurseries of the ministry’s hospitals, private sector hospitals, and health units nationwide.
Moreover, Head of the Health Care and Nursing Sector Wael Abdel Razek said that the 19 diseases that were detected include congenital hypothyroidism, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, folic anaemia, cystic fibrosis, hereditary hyperlipidaemia, phenylketonuria, and tetraplegic deficiency hydropetrin.
Abdel Razek added that the examination is carried out by taking a blood sample from the child’s ankle and analysing it through the Egyptian Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, which was provided with a laboratory equipped with the latest international devices in the field of detecting genetic diseases.
He further pointed out that if the sample came back positive, the child is referred for a confirmatory test for the disease and then starts receiving the necessary treatment according to the protocols established by the scientific committee of the initiative, noting that 4,430 children have been referred for confirmatory examinations since the launch of the initiative.
The ministry has allocated 25 centres to treat genetic diseases for newborns.