Establishment of the First Newborn Screening Program in the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos

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 Objectives: The People’s Democratic Republic of Laos belongs to the minority of countries worldwide without an established newborn bloodspot screening (NBS) system. Methods: In 2008, we initiated a pilot project of a neonatal screening system in the delivery suites of the Laotian capital, Vientiane. Samples were analysed for thyrotropin-stimulating hormone and 17-hydroxyprogesterone. Results: Altogether 11 362 samples were taken; an initially high recall rate dropped eventually to just above 4%. Two cases of hypothyroidism and one case of congenital adrenal hyperplasia were identified and received timely treatment. Conclusions: In summary, we have demonstrated the feasibility of establishing an NBS system in a low-resource setting as prevalent in Laos. Obstacles for the establishment of a general NBS covering the whole country include the question of financial cover, treatment costs, and adequate teaching and supervision of technicians and doctors.

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