A major newborn screening laboratory has opened in Egypt, said to be the world’s largest in terms of the number of bloodspot samples it is expected to process.
The Cairo laboratory is the product of company PerkinElmer, produced in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP). It forms part of a new, improved national newborn health screening programme for congenital hypothyroidism, which aims to boost access to reach around 96% of all Egyptian newborn babies.
Congenital hypothyroidism reportedly affects up to one in every 1,400 babies in the Middle East; it is a standard component of newborn screening programmes, as early detection and treatment with thyroid prevents irreversible mental retardation. Egypt has been screening for the condition for more than ten years; the new central laboratory replaces 14 regional centres of screening. A database with store test results for use in population health research and planning.