Dehradun, September 17
To reduce the incidence of birth defects, the Health Department will soon come
up with a birth defects registry (BDR).
After an intense focus on anti-natal care aimed at reducing child
and maternal mortality rate, the state has started focusing on reducing birth
defects through the action on birth defects programme of the National Rural
Dr Sujata Sinha, project head, birth defect, said: “A framework of
birth defects, both genetic and non-genetic, will be prepared with focus on
primary prevention, care and control, which will eventually lead to the
preparation of the BDR.”
There are many causes for birth defects involving a wide range of
factors, some due to inherent blood disorders, congenital abnormalities and
metabolic disorders. With the main focus on thalassemia, the programme aims at
tracking G6PD (glucose-6 phosphate dehyrdogenase deficiency), orofacial cleft
congenital malformation, congenital heart defect, neural tube defect and down
As part of primary preventive care, the focus will be on
adolescent girls and ensuring they take iron tablets. “Often an expectant
mother is given iron tablets, which may not be useful for preventing birth
defects. The defects sets in within six to eight weeks of the conception period
and iron plays a major role in the genesis process,” said Dr KC Pant, a senior
physician at Doon Hospital.
With the advent of prenatal screening and prenatal care, doctors
can detect certain signs of birth defects and some of them can even be treated
while the baby is still in the mother’s womb. Some can be treated immediately
after the baby is born and there are still some birth defects for which there
is no known treatment till date. While Doon Hospital will act as the state
centre for the programme, an active screening of newborn babies with possible
birth defects will be carried at the District Female Hospital.
The testing for the G6PD deficiency has already started at Doon
Hospital by using the filter paper for blood sampling to be followed by a test
for congenital hypothyroidism.
A survey for the preparation of the BDR and primary prevention has
already started in the Raipur block of Dehradun, where adolescent girls were
screened. Soon other blocks comprising Sahaspur, Doiwala and Vikas Nagar would
be covered under the survey.