Insights on Doctor’s Awareness and Perception of Newborn Screening

Newborn screening is one of the most important preventable public health programs implemented in the majority of the countries. It is possible to achieve a better outcome with early treatment in infants with neonatal disorders. However, in India, there is no government-funded newborn screening program yet.

We have conducted this survey to understand the awareness and perception amongst doctors about the newborn screening program.

A total of 105 physicians participated in the survey of which 60% were paediatricians, 5% were pediatric surgeons and 35% were general practitioners.

● 92% of doctors are aware of the newborn screening program, however, 8% of all are not updated with the program specifications ● The majority of the doctors (98%) believe that newborn screening should become a standard of care in India, whereas 2% disagree with that ● 32% of the doctors suggest that Staffing and equipment cost makes it difficult to implement this program in India along with lack of availability of expertise in this field ● 88% of the doctors believe the Government of India/State Government should fund the newborn screening program, whereas 9% are unsure of this thought ● The vast majority of doctors (99%) suggest counselling expectant parents about the benefits of newborn screening But only 77% think that it should become a mandate to provide genetic counselling to every expectant parent

According to World Health Organization (WHO), 140 million children are born every year, of which 5 million children die in the first month of life in developing countries and 4 million children are born with some genetic abnormality. The diagnosis of these abnormalities can be preempted and the complications can be well controlled by newborn screening.

As currently, it is not under the purview of policymakers to consider newborn screening as a national program. Considering the lifesaving benefits of this simple pick test, doctors can always educate expectant parents about the benefits of newborn screening.

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