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NM Department of Health Recognizes ‘Newborn Screening Awareness Month’

SANTA FE, NM — The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) recognizes September as ‘Newborn Screening Awareness Month’ and encourages all new parents in New Mexico to visit with their healthcare provider about how comprehensive screening tests at birth can protect the health of their newborn.

“Newborn screening identifies conditions that can affect a child’s long-term health or survival,” said NMDOH Cabinet Secretary Lynn Gallagher. “Early detection, diagnosis, and intervention can prevent death or disability and enable children to reach their full potential.”

Each year, thousands of babies in New Mexico are routinely screened for certain genetic, endocrine, and metabolic disorders prior to discharge from a hospital or birthing center. This screening is done using a few drops of blood from the newborn’s heel. Babies are also screened for hearing loss and for critical congenital heart defects.

All babies in New Mexico are screened, even if they look healthy, because some medical conditions cannot be seen by just looking at the baby. It is only with time that some conditions discovered by newborn screening may affect your baby’s brain, physical development, social skills, school performance, or cause other medical problems. By then the damage may be permanent. Finding these conditions soon after birth and getting treatment early can help prevent some serious problems (such as brain damage, organ damage, and even death) and promote normal growth and development of your child.

The Newborn Screening Program ensures that all babies with abnormal screening results receive appropriate diagnostic testing and that confirmed cases receive early and timely care. The newborn screening program at the state level does this by coordinating information and medical care amongst doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians, social workers, and medical specialists. The program also works to keep costs affordable, reduces health disparities, and provides equal access to care and assistance.

For more information, visit the about the New Mexico Newborn Screening Program website at: https://nmhealth.org/about/phd/fhb/cms/nbgs.

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