The Official Publication of Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health - Philippines

NBS Week 2012: A VYLH-Philippines Primer

For the past three years, VYLH-Philippines continues to uphold its commitment on one of its flagship advocacies – the promotion of public’s awareness on Newborn Screening  and its importance on saving babies from mental retardation. This is highly reflected in the activities conducted by the network in the national and local level. This primer aims to summarize the previous gains of the network related to its NBS advocacy, as well as present national and local plans for this year's NBS Week Celebration.


In 2011, VYLH-Philippines conducted the first Newborn Screening Hour as part of its celebration of the annual NBS Week. The concept for the NBS Hour was prepared by the VYLH Mindanao volunteers and secretariat and then endorsed to the national level. The First NBS Hour was held last October 5, 2011 at 4:00-5:00 in the afternoon. Within this hour, volunteer youth leaders (VYLs) simultaneously conducted advocacy and promotional activities.

Aside from the NBS Hour, VYLH-Philippines continued to strengthen its partnership with government agencies involved in the promotion and implementation of NBS such as the Newborn Screening Centers (NSCs), Centers for Health Development (CHDs), Local Government Units (LGUs) and Municipal Health Offices (MHOs) by participating in the activities organized by these units such as the Reunion of Saved Babies, NSC Forums, and the NBS Consultative Forum for NBS Coordinators.

Early this year, VYLH-Philippines, in cooperation with the NSCs, was also able to join the Annual Buntis Day activity of the Philippine Obstetrics and Gynecological Society wherein hundreds of pregnant women became the beneficiaries of information dissemination in the cities of Pasay, Iloilo and Davao. VYLH members also had the opportunity to promote NBS among high school students and faculty during the “Schools for Rare” Campaign in celebration of the Rare Disease Week.


The Newborn Screening Coverage (Newborns Screened
vs. Actual Live Birth), 1996-2011

Every first week of October is dedicated as the National Newborn Screening Week and this is pursuant to Presidential Proclamation 540 (signed in 2004). The proclamation recognizes the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of inborn genetic disorders in preventing permanent damage to the affected child. If untreated, this congenital disorders may lead to death or mental retardation. The proclamation also encourages the conduct of a national information campaign to broaden public attention on NBS as well as generate full support from the public and private sectors. 

Another consideration of the proclamation was the low number of Filipino newborns that was subjected to NBS. In 2004, only 5.2% of the total newborns was screened. At present, the NBS coverage is estimated at 42%. This shows that there is still a long way to attain 100% coverage. A long way that would be shared by health practitioners, advocates and volunteers.

[Related: The Need for Newborn Screening Promotion]


Social Media
  • Facebook: Oplan Heel Alert: Newborn Screening, saving babies one heel at a time
    • Promoting the public's awareness on the importance of newborn screening by changing the FB profile pic to the VYLH-Philippines NBS Advocacy logo during the National Newborn Screening Week. 
  • Twitter: Follow @newbornscreenph
    • Official Twitter Account of the Newborn Screening Reference Center
  • Twitter: #NBSsaves
    • Volunteers are encouraged to tweet their support to NBS as well post their accomplished activities in Twitter with the hashtag #NBSsaves. 
  • Representation to the 10th Newborn Screening Convention, SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City (October 2)
North Luzon Cluster
  • Orientation of Youth Leaders - Central Luzon State University, Nueva Ecija
  • Distribution of Pink Brochures at Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija (October 5, 2012)
  • Newborn Screening Campaign in Brgy. Bantug Science City of Munoz Nueva Ecija 
  • NBS Week Celebration and General Assembly at University of La Salette, Santiago City, Isabela (Oct. 6)
  •  VYLH-Philippines Students' Health Forum (Region II) in partnership with CHD Region II

NCR-South Luzon Cluster
  • NCR Expansion Orientation - recruitment of new volunteer youth leaders from various schools in NCR (National Institutes of Health - UP Manila)
  • Participation to the NSC-NIH Reunion of Saved Babies (La Mesa Ecopark, Oct. 28)
  • Information Dissemination and exhibit in Lipa
  • Participation to the Philippine Obstetrics and Gynecological Society (POGS)-NCR Pap Smear Day (Mary Johnston Eveland Hall, Tondo Manila, Oct. 24)
  •  The 8K Challenge - A campaign to distribute 8,000 NBS Brochures within the month of October. This campaign commemorates the 8th year since RA9288 was ratified
Visayas Cluster
  • Participation to the NSC-Visayas Reunion of Saved Babies (Negros Oriental, Oct. 27)
  • Operation BB (Bigay Brochure) - distribution of NBS brochures to the respective areas of member VYLs (schools, malls, market, municipal halls, etc) for the month of October. The number of brochures distributed will be recorded. This is a  partner activity for NCR's 8K Challenge. 
  • VYLH City Wide Orientation - Orientation among the youth from different baranggays in Bacolod City
Mindanao Cluster
  • Barangay Newborn - NBS and folic acid awareness campaign lecture at selected barangays. Volunteers will also look for an indigent pregnant mother who will receive free NBS for her child.
  • NBS Hanap Buntis 2012
  • NBS Hour - One hour of NBS Information dissemination scheduled this October 5 (4:30-5:30 PM)
  • Participation to the Reunion of Saved Babies (Abreeza Mall Davao City, Oct. 28)

  • Department of Health
  • Institute of Human Genetics, National Institutes of Health - UP Manila
  • March of Dimes
  • Newborn Screening Centers - Central Luzon, NIH, Visayas, Mindanao
  • Newborn Screening Reference Center, NIH-UP Manila
  • Partner university- and community-based youth organizations

Prepared by the VYLH-Philippines Advovacy and Health Promotion Working Group (AHP-WG).

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