New Lease Of Life For Babies With Genetic Birth Defects
For the first time ever in India, the Health Department of the Telangana State Government is planning to embark on a unique programme of registering newborn babies suffering from genetic disorders or defective body parts. The aim of this programme is to provide healthcare support for the early rectification of such disorders.
According to healthcare experts, more than one lakh babies are born with genetic disorders every year. But till now, neither the Central Government nor any State Governments have realized this problem.
However, the Telangana State Government, having faced many such cases, is now spending crores of rupees under the Aarogyasri free health insurance scheme and extending the best of the healthcare facilities to cure these disorders.
Dr. Laxma Reddy, Minister for Medical Health and Family welfare, Government of Telangana, said, “Earlier, we did not have a system to identify newborns with defects. However, we’re now planning to launch a unique programme called Birth Defects Registration Programme. This is to ensure that newborns with defects like holes in the heart, kidney ailments, digestive tract problems and hearing-impairment can be identified and registered at the time of their birth. This in turn will help in early treatment, and the defects can be rectified by attending to the problem right at the beginning state.”
Healthcare experts say that defects in newborns are mainly because of genetic problems. And if these defects are identified at the early stages, more than 90 percent of them can be cured before they reach their maturity.
For example, hearing impairments can be detected by clapping hands behind the baby’s back and gauging the baby’s response through audiometry tests, an auditory brainstem response test and so on. However, these tests aren’t presently being conducted till the child is two or three years old; and by then, it’s already late. An invisible link between speech and hearing exists as the latter enables one to acquire language skills.
A majority of genetic defects are particularly related to hearing impairment.
Lakhs of children in the country are born with hearing problems. The inability to recognize these defects in the early stages is rendering such children deaf and dumb for the rest of their lives. The birth defects registration programme, proposed to be launched soon, will enable the government and the hospitals to introduce effective remedial measures for such cases.