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Seychelles Hospital begins screening of newborns for genetic illnesses

Babies born at the Seychelles Hospital will as of mid-February be screened for several genetic, hormone-related, or metabolic illnesses following the introduction of a new screening tool by the Health Care Agency.

The Universal Screening Tool for Inborn Errors of Metabolism and Genetic Disorders helps identify medical conditions that may not be apparent at birth but may cause serious ailments in newborns if treatment is not initiated early.

The test is non-invasive and is performed by taking a few drops of blood from the baby’s heel. The blood sample is then placed on a filter paper which is sent to the laboratory for further analysis.

Using a Tandem Mass Spectrometer machine, which is a special equipment used to analyse blood samples, healthcare staff look for specific medical conditions.

To begin, 6 conditions will be screened for and these are: Phenylketonuria, Congenital Hypothyroidism, Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, Cystic Fibrosis, Sickle Cell Disease and Galactosaemia.

Early detection and timely treatment of these disorders can prevent long-term physical and mental disabilities or death.

Results from the analysis are received within a week of the sample collection and as laboratory staff familiarise with the machine, further screening for more conditions will also be conducted.

Newborn screening is a vital process and the Health Care Agency thanks all the sponsors who have made the introduction of this new tool possible. They are Constance Ephelia, H. Savy Insurance Co. Ltd, Constance Ephelia, the Children’s Special Fund Seychelles and Friends of NEP Hospital & Hospice

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NOTICE

All persons placed under home quarantine who develop symptoms are advised to visit the special stations at Glacis Health Centre, Baie Lazare Health Centre and Mont Fleuri Health Centre. The home quarantine period should be completed for 14 days, from arrival in Seychelles or last contact with a positive case of COVID-19. A certificate of quarantine will be presented at the end of the quarantine period.

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Anyone with symptoms related to COVID-19 are asked to report to special stations at Glacis Health Centre, Baie Lazare Health Centre and Mont Fleuri Health Centre between 8am-12pm and 1pm-2pm. People who use these health centres for regular consultations, should go to their regional centres.

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