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J Trop Pediatr. 2013 Apr;59(2):95-9. doi: 10.1093/tropej/fms057. Epub 2012 Oct 26.

Establishment of the first newborn screening program in the People's Democratic Republic of Laos.

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  • 1Neonatology and Paediatric Intensive Care Medicine, Department of General Paediatrics, Düsseldorf, Germany. thomas.hoehn@uni-duesseldorf.de



The People's Democratic Republic of Laos belongs to the minority of countries worldwide without an established newborn bloodspot screening (NBS) system.


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.


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.


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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