Newborn Screening aims to detect at the earliest stage of life genetic and metabolic conditions that may lead to mental retardation if left untreated. The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) expanded its coverage of essential health services for newborns through the PhilHealth Circular No. 2001 – 0021 which took effect on January 5, 2019.
We now have the enhanced Newborn Care Package which increases the amount of coverage from P1,750 to P2,950 which pays for supplies of Vit. K eye ointment, vaccines for Hepatitis B and BCG; expanded Newborn Screening Test; Newborn Hearing Screening Test; and fees for attending health professionals. The essential newborn care also includes immediate drying of the baby, early skin to skin contact, timely cord clamping, non-separation of mother to baby, early breastfeeding initiation, and weighing of babies among others.
The Department of Health Administrative Order No. 2014-0045 provides guidelines on the implementation of the expanded Newborn Screening Program from 6 (six) to 28 disorders. The expanded newborn screening test will be able to detect endocrine, amino and fatty acids disorders; organic acid; cystic fibrosis, hemoglobinopathies, biotinidase deficiency and urea cycle defect.
Accredited health care institution – birthing homes and lying in clinics, infirmaries and hospitals can give these packages to all newborns.
All PhilHealth members who are pregnant are encourage to avail of these services to avoid high cost associated with the lifelong treatment and reduce death and morbidity due to metabolic disorders.