Is NBS Care Reaching Everyone? Program Implementation Review in MOH-BARMM Seeks Answers

Is NBS Care Reaching Everyone? Program Implementation Review in MOH-BARMM Seeks Answers


Participants of the MOH-BARMM PIR: (Standing from the left) MOH-BARMM Asst. NBS Coordinator Sittie Amira Usman; MOH-BARMM NBS Coordinator Sheridhan Sampulna: (seated from the left) NSCM PDO IV Perly Bermudez; NBSCC IX Head Dr. Mirasol S. Ellong; IPHO Maguindanao Chief of Tehnical Department Dr. Geraldine A. Macapeges; MOH BARMM FHC Head Dr. Quaressa Mia S. Taki; NSCM Unit Head Dr. Conchita G. Abarquez; CHGS PDO IV Aster Lynn Sur; NSRC Program Support Unit Head Ma. Elouisa L. Reyes; and NSRC Quality Assurance Unit Head Karen Asuncion R. Panol


The Ministry of Health of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MOH-BARMM) has assigned a new team for the Newborn Screening (NBS) program in 2023.


In the initial phase of the transition, the team, composed of Family Health Cluster (FHC) Head Dr. Quaressa Mia S. Taki, NBS Nurse Coordinator Sheridhan Sampulna, and Assistant NBS Coordinator Sittie Amira Usman underwent program orientation and training from the Newborn Screening Reference Center (NSRC) and Center for Human Genetics Services (CHGS)-Mindanao on August 2023 in Koronadal City. The following week, the team members had their exposure at the Newborn Screening Center-Mindanao (NSCM) in Southern Philippines Medical Center, Davao City.


To evaluate the performance of the region in implementing the program, the team conducted visits to the Newborn Screening Facilities (NSFs) to determine their current status and the factors contributing to the high inactivity rate, high unsatisfactory rate, and low return rates for both unsatisfactory samples and initially positive cases.


Having gathered initial data from the visits, the team invited the NBS Coordinators from the five (5) Integrated Provincial Health Offices (IPHOs), three (3) main cities and the Special Demographic Area (SDA) for a Program Implementation Review (PIR) on December 18-19, 2023, at the Dusit Thani, Davao City


The IPHOs included IPHO Basilan, IPHO Lanao del Sur, IPHO Maguindanao, IPHO Sulu, and IPHO Tawi-Tawi. Meanwhile, the cities included Cotabato City, Lamitan City, and Marawi City.


The program commenced with messages from Dr. Quaressa Mia S. Taki and NSCM Unit Head Dr. Conchita Abarquez. This was followed by the presentation of data by NSCM Project Development Officer (PDO) IV Perly F. Bermudez and CHGS PDO IV Aster Lynn Sur. Subsequently, NSRC Quality Assurance Unit Head Karen Asuncion R. Panol guided the participants in identifying challenges and setting realistic objectives and goals for 2024.


To strengthen coordination with the long-term follow-up teams rendering care for BARMM patients, data were presented by NBS Continuity Clinic (NBSCC) XII Head Dr. Ma. Christina B. Eran; NBSCC IX Nurse Iris Tomas; and NBSCC X Nurse Udall Cabading. The review concluded with an Arabian-themed socials graced by Minister of Health Dr. Rizaldy L. Piang who showed his support for the program by confirming the increase in budget allocation for 2024.


The initial coverage computation for BARMM in 2023 showed a 15% increase compared to its 2022 performance. With the agreements during the review, the BARMM NBS Team hopes to improve not only the program coverage but also the sample validity and return rates. The region is also aiming to establish its own continuity clinic in 2024.