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490,000 poor infants to get disease screening

Updated: 2013-11-29 21:36
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - China will start screening for three major diseases among infants in poor rural areas next month, said the National Health and Family Planning Commission here on Friday.

The free screening targets phenylketonuria, congenital hypothyroidism and hearing disorder and will cover about 490,000 rural newborns in 200 poverty-stricken counties of 21 provincial regions, said a commission statement.

Those who are diagnosed with the diseases will receive treatment and medical assistance from the state, according to the statement.

Phenylketonuria, also known as PKU, is a metabolic genetic disorder that can lead to learning disability, seizures and other medical problems. If patients can be diagnosed at an early age and get proper treatment, the symptoms may not develop and they can have a normal life.

Congenital hypothyroidism is another metabolic disorder under which an infant is born with a severe deficiency of thyroid function. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent growth failure and mental retardation caused by the condition.

The central government will allocate a special fund for this program, 120 yuan (19 U.S. dollars) for each infant, the statement said.

Additionally, the commission will dispatch free dietary nutrition supplements to infants from six to 24 months in 300 poor counties so as to reduce incidence of anemia and stunting.

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