Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Promoting NBS Awareness through Hospital-based Strategies

Written by Robin Charles Ramos 

Saving the future of our babies lies in our hands.

Undergoing newborns to the newborn screening test (NBS) partially fulfills what has been agreed in the Fourth Millenium Development Goal (MDG) – Reduce Child Mortality. Through the program, we can save lives of our children through early detection of metabolic disorders. Congenital metabolic disorders are genetic diseases which do not physically manifest at birth but can lead to detrimental effects to the child such as mental retardation or death. These effects can only be averted with early detection and therapy. 

As a VYLH-Philippines volunteer, my active involvement in the advocacy, since I was trained to educate people especially the youth about the program, has allowed me to find my niche. Though I am not a medical or health professional, I see the importance of participation by playing an important role in educating the community about the program and its importance. I believe that relevant and basic information is the key towards successfully reaching zero-rate newborn fatality and a hundred percent newborn screening coverage.


Valencia Sanitarium and Hospital Foundation in Valencia City, Bukidnon
(Photo Credits: VSH Facebook Page)

From Digos City in Davao del Sur to Davao City, and now, I found my niche here in the Human Resources Department of the Valencia Sanitarium and Hospital Foundation, Inc. (VSH). VSH is a non-stocck, non-profit, tertiary healthcare institution of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It supported the advocacy and laid its programs and plans for the hospital and the community. To begin with, a committee was formed.

The Newborn Screening Committee, to which I am a member, is composed of Medical Technologists and some Head Nurses and Nurse Supervisors. The committee is headed by the Chief Medical Technologist, Ms. Lylibeth Halasan. The group convened a committee meeting on May 30 where we reviewed the hospital’s policy, proposed programs and developed new strategies on newborn screening promotion. 

One of the hospital's flagship program on NBS is  a hospital-wide Newborn Screening Awareness Day that will be implemented every Friday from 3 to 5 in the afternoon. In this program, trained nurses and other volunteer educators will be deployed to educate all of the patients in their respective rooms about the importance of the newborn screening. Prior to this, a series of training and education workshop with our nurses was conducted in order to fully equip them with knowledge on NBS and updates regarding the advocacy. Along with the NBS Day, the members of the committee will be posting the NBS posters and pink brochures to each and every frontline office like the Information, Medical Records, Pharmacy, Radiology, Laboratory, Business Office, Cafeteria, Emergency Room, Hemodialysis, ICU/NICU, OR/DR, and Ward Stations.

A G6PD Forum for parents and other stakeholders for updates and counseling program will be conducted once every quarter through the collaboration with the City Health Office-Valencia City, Center for Health Development- Region 10, Newborn Screening Center – Mindanao, and Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health – Philippines.

To ease the burden of the parents who are not a PhilHealth member, the group will be having a “drop-a-coin and save babies lives” fund-raising activity to subsidize the NBS fee for all indigent family whose baby is born in the hospital.

These are only a few of the planned activities of the hospital in close coordination with the City Health Office of Valencia and the Local Government Unit of Valencia City and support from the Newborn Screening Center – Mindanao and Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health – Philippines (Mindanao Cluster).

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Robin Charles Ramos is a Master in  Business Adminitsration graduate of the Cor Jesu College  in Digos City, Davao del Sur. He is also currently employed as a  Human Resources Department  staff at the Valencia Sanitarium and Hospital in Bukidnon. He is also an alumnus of  South Philippine  Adventist College where he completed his degree in Business Administration. Robin  became affiliated to the network during the 2010 Mindanao Island-wide Youth Camp.

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