If the updated Global Strategy is truly to move the world toward the goal of ending preventable child and maternal death within a generation, and to ensure that babies and children survive, thrive and reach their full potential, then even the poorest countries must begin to build health systems and infrastructure that go beyond today's top killers of children, and address all forms of preventable child death and disability. That includes newborn screening for congenital anomalies and metabolic disorders.
Globally, congenital anomalies and preterm birth are important causes of childhood death, chronic illness, and disability in many countries. Unfortunately, most children in the developing world do not have access to newborn screening for treatable disorders at birth. Congenital anomalies cause 4 million of these babies die before their 5th birthday, and of those who survive, many face life-long disability. Many countries, even among the poorest, see the need for newborn screening and are beginning to develop newborn screening programs, but lack institutional and donor support. Including comprehensive, universal newborn screening as a separate priority in the new Global Strategy is an important step. Children with congential disorders have the same right to life, health, and chance to succeed as any other child.