Catanduanes’ Newborn Screening Clinic opens

VIRAC, Catanduanes – Children from this island province will now have ready access to long-term care after the Department of Health in Bicol (DOH-5) and Eastern Bicol Medical Center (EBMC) opened the Newborn Screening (NBS) Satellite Continuity Clinic in this provincial capital.

NBS regional program manager, Sarah Mae Magtangob, said the EBMC is the first-ever hospital run by a local government unit (LGU) in the Bicol Region to have such a facility.

She said the clinic will “give patients with confirmed NBS disorder the necessary continuity care. They need to be checked and given proper treatment and management),” she explained.

Magtangob said previously, only the Bicol Regional Hospital and Medical Center in Legazpi City offered NBS continuity care. With the establishment of the NBS Satellite Continuity Clinic in Virac, she said patients in Catanduanes need no longer travel to Legazpi.

The EBMC program manager said they encourage all other provinces to continuously improve their new-born services by putting up NBS Satellite Continuity Clinics in their areas. With a continuity clinic, they can now provide patients with access to long-term continuity care like consultation, monitoring and treatment, she stressed.

NBS identifies newborns’ Inborn Errors of Metabolism (IEM) through early detection, diagnosis, and intervention. The continuity clinic was opened to provide continuous, efficient and more accessible outpatient care to confirmed positive patients with IEM.

Dr. Ferchito Avelino, DOH-Bicol assistant regional director, said the NBS aims to identify IEM which can affect a child’s long-term health and survival.

The establishment of the EBMC’s continuity clinic along with the Dialysis Center and Acute Psychiatric Clinic, he added, is an important step toward the full implementation of Republic Act 11223, also known as the Universal Health Care Act. 

Photo: CONTINUITY CARE. Dr. Ferchito Avelino, DOH-Bicol assistant regional director (left) and Catanduanes Governor Joseph Cua (center) lead the opening of the Newborn Screening (NBS) Satellite Continuity Clinic at the Eastern Bicol Medical Center (EBMC) in Virac, Catanduanes. The EBMC is the first local government unit-run hospital in Bicol to have an NBS continuity clinic. (Photo courtesy of DOH-Bicol)