March 14, 2007

Free genetic testing to begin in Chandigarh hospitals

All government hospitals in Chandigarh will offer the facility of mass screening to pregnant mothers and newborns so that genetic disorders can be detected early, the UT Administration has decided.

UT officials were very proud to announce that Chandigarh will be the first city in India to offer such mass screening at government hospitals and nursing homes.

After the successful trial conducted at Genetic Centre, Government Medical College Hospital (GMCH), the facility has been extended to all other government hospitals, including Multispeciality Hospital, Polyclinic, Sector 22, and other Government Nursing Homes under the Administration.

Earlier, the Administration had decided to initiate neo-natal screening of all children at the Genetic Centre, GMCH. Soon, the Government Multispecialty Hospital and others followed suit. This was done to work out various logistics and requirements before the decision was taken to extend the facility to pregnant mothers and newborns across the city.

The Genetic Centre in GMCH started pre-natal screening to find out how many pregnant women were at high risk.

Hundred and five pregnant women were screened and five were found high risk on the genetic disorder scale.

As equipment and infrastructure in the trial run could sustain tests for more than a month without a glitch, facilities for pre-natal screening have been extended to other hospitals.

The procedure and logistics for neo-natal screening are being worked out and the UT Administration intends to start the neo-natal mass screening programme shortly.

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