The Official Publication of Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health - Philippines

Abra enacts Philippines' first local ENBS ordinance

Health Promotion and Advocacy Update

The Province of Abra leads the nation in supporting Expanded Newborn Screening (ENBS) through local legislation. Last May 6, 2015, Abra Governor Eustaquio P. Bersamin promulgated Ordinance No. 231 or “The Expanded Newborn Screening Program of the Province of Abra.” According to the Newborn Screening Reference Center (NSRC), the local ordinance is “the first and, so far, the only ordinance legislated for ENBS in the Philippines since the start of its implementation on December 24, 2014 as approved by the Department of Health Advisory Committee on Newborn Screening (DOH-ACNBS).”

Authored by Sangguniang Panlalawigan Health Committee Chair Ramon Dickson, M.D., the ENBS ordinance covers the Abra Provincial Hospital, district hospitals, rural health units (RHUs) and all other medical and birthing centers under the jurisdiction of the province. Aside from following the screening protocol described in the Newborn Screening Act of 2004 (RA 9288) and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), the ordinance also mandates all health practitioners of the province, who delivers or assists in the delivery, to inform the parents or legal guardians of the newborn about the availability, nature and benefits of ENBS prior to the delivery.

Funding is also one of the important provisions of the ordinance. As stated in the ordinance, 500,000 pesos will be appropriated annually for the implementation of the ENBS program of the province, in addition to the amount allotted to the Newborn Screening Program (NBSP). According to Dr. Dickson, the budget allotment for ENBS will be used in the purchase of ENBS kits, as well as the confirmatory and medical management expenses of identified cases among indigent patients. There is also a possibility that the allotment would be increased in the coming years.

DOH-CAR NBS Probram Manager Dr. Virginia Narciso
(Photo: VMendoza/NSRC-NIH,UP Manila)

This milestone in NBSP and ENBS local legislation was covered in one of the plenary sessions of the recently concluded Newborn Screening Convention. Last October 7, Dr. Dickson commended NBSP implementers and briefly introduced the development of the ENBS legislation as a prelude to the presentation given by Dr. Virginia Narciso, NBS Program Manager – DOH Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). Dr. Narciso talked on how healthcare providers and other stakeholders including the youth contributed to the DOH-CAR NBS and ENBS advocacy, and on how partnering with local government units led to the enactment of NBS-related ordinances. 

Reports from the Newborn Screening Center - Central Luzon (NSC-CL) have showed that Abra Provincial Hospital screens 100 percent of their live births either in the basic NBS-6-panel or ENBS. The province have also sent 348 ENBS samples to NSC-CL as of September 2015.

The following is a copy of the landmark ENBS ordinance (Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Abra/NSRC-NIH, UP Manila):

The complete article on the Abra ENBS ordinance is part of the National Newborn Screening Week broadsheet spread published last October 18, 2015 in the Philippine Star. Download the complete article here (link).

The NSRC has also compiled NBS-related ordinances enacted at the municipal, provincial and regional level. Visit .

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