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National Neonatology Forum of India Press Meet

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Trivitron Healthcare in association with NeoGen Labs and Rainbow Hospital hosts Symposium on Newborn Screening

Hyderabad, 11 September 2016-Trivitron Healthcare,one of India's largest medical technology companies of Indian originin association with NeoGen Labs, a leader in Newborn Screening, and Rainbow Hospital, Hyderabad hosted a Symposium on the occasion of Newborn Screening Month to highlight the relevance of the topic. Newborn Screening is a pediatric screening service provided to newbornbabies to assess the possibility of genetic disorders caused by "Inborn Errors of Metabolism (IEMs)". A drop or two of blood collected by a simple heel prick can screen a newborn baby for over 50 IEMs which cause development delay or death if undetected and untreated. Newborn Screening is an established public health program in most Western countries but it is still growing in India, largely driven by the private sector.Today, most leading private hospitals and some government hospitals have a Newborn Screening Program in place but awareness and implementation by all hospitals and government is still a challenge. IEMs can lead to permanent neurological, cognitive, tactile, and physical damage in the child but if detected early enough, they can all be treated leading to completely normal development. One of the factors contributing to their high prevalence in Indiais consanguineous marriages and marriage within communities over generations.Studies indicate that up to 15% of newborn sick babies could have treatable metabolic disorders which go unknown leading to mental retardation and death.

Speaking on the occasion Dr. Saurabh Dani,an Obstetrician& Gynecologist from Ankur Hospital, Mumbai said "Newborn Screening has been proved to be a very effective public health program in several countries and just second to the popular immunisation program. India has yet to realise its full potential benefits.". Mr. Vikas Bhatia, a parent who has lost three children to IEM says "Babies with disorders like IEMs are treated like gone cases and nothing is done about it. The fact is that 20 out of 100 could have been saved with Newborn Screening and modified diets, and for those 80 cases that are beyond any treatment, parents can at least be informed of the diagnosis so they can think on the lines of prenatal diagnosis for future pregnancies".

Problems associated with Newborn Screening are:
• Parental lack of awareness about its benefits. Unlike Western countries, it is not a mandated test so parents in India have to request the test,
• Counselling by gynecologists and pediatricians is required to educate the parents before delivery and this practice is not widespread except in leading birthing hospitals across the country
• Reliable testing laboratories and accurate results.

The Newborn Screening symposium was started by NeoGen Labs four years ago and is held every two years. The current event with their technology partner, Trivitronisthe third in the series with the theme "We are on our way!". The theme celebrates the fact that many hospitals now screen for at least, Congenital Hypothyroidism. Quite a few screen for 3 ormore disorders. Some screen for the comprehensive panel of more than 50 disorders. StateGovernments in India have started, or are in the process of starting Newborn Screening programs.The challenge faced is in what to do for treatment after screening finds a disorder and it isconfirmed. The coalitionof Newborn Screening proponents are making headway in finding a solution and believe that access to life savingdiets will also be available soon. Expertise in treatments is also being fast developedwith development of local diets. Dr. Rohit Cariappa from NeoGen Labs says "Newborn screening for treatable metabolic disorders is coming of age in the private healthcare sector in India. The formation of parent advocacy groups and relaxation of import restrictions on special formula diets is likely to spur better treatment options and outcomes for affected newborns".

This symposium is an effort to inform, educate and share experiences to understand the benefits ofscreening. It is a small step in a long journey to realize universal screening in India.

About Trivitron Healthcare:
The genesis of Trivitron Healthcare Private Limited, dates back to 1997, when Dr. Velu, a first generation entrepreneur decided to build a company on the premise of delivering cost-effective medical technology solutions and services to the underserved. Today, Trivitron Healthcare, through successful inorganic synergies with local and global firms, has a revenue turnover of 750 crores, and is the largest medical technology company of Indian origin, with products exported to over 165 countries.

About NeoGen Labs
In January 2005, Mr. Thomas Mookken ,CEO of Neogen Labs had a baby boy, Ayden. By all appearances, he was a normal, healthy child doing what newborns do best; sleeping and crying when hungry. The New Jersey (USA) hospital he was born in participated in the State Newborn Screening (NBS) Program. The screening test detected G6PD, an Inborn Error of Metabolism (IEM). G6PD can be fatal in some cases but is very easily treatable. It is estimated in a paper, Inborn Errors of Metabolism (IEMs) - An Indian Perspective by Dr. N. B. Kumta, that there are about 360, 000 births every year in India that test positive for G6PD.

As a parent, this incident made him realize the benefits of screening infants for Metabolic Disorders.
A simple concept with very powerful implications; detecting and treating disorders before symptoms appear, thereby saving numerous lives.

Dr. Rohit Cariappa, DABCC, and Mr. Thomas Mookken moved to India and formed NeoGen Labs in June 2006 to offer the First Step Newborn Screening Test to screen newborns for IEMs. They had a simple goal - offer a reasonably priced, accurate screening test that physicians in India could rely on. No shortcuts, no compromises. They worked with the leading vendors in the world to set up a lab that is benchmarked against the best in the industry. Today, NeoGen works with more than 300 hospitals across India, Middle East and South Asia to provide Newborn Screening solutions.
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