As of this week, new-borns on Saba and Statia will be administered a new test. This test called a heel prick, tests for 17 rare, but possibly serious diseases. If these diseases are found in time, they can mostly be managed with medication or by altering the new-born’s diet. The test will be performed preferably within a week after birth, and is done through a prick on the heel. A few drops of blood are then sent to The Netherlands for analysis.
Expecting parents will be informed of the test by the healthcare professionals at the A.M. Edwards clinic and Queen Beatrix Medical Centre during prenatal consultations.
Over the last few months preparations were made by the Saba and St. Eustatius Healthcare Foundations, The Public Health Departments of Saba and St. Eustatius and the Centre for Population Screening of the RIVM in the Netherlands. This week a delegation of the RIVM and Ministry of Health will be on Saba to finalize the implementation.
The heel prick screening already exists in European Netherlands. The implementation of the program in the Dutch Caribbean is part of ongoing efforts to provide a similar level of healthcare in both parts of the Netherlands. The screening was implemented on Bonaire at the start of 2015, and will now be simultaneously introduced on Saba and St. Eustatius.
Press release GIS Saba