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Diagnosis of rare diseases, now at ICH CHENNAI: Now, screening for some rare disorders can be done at the the Institute of Child Health in Egmore either during the antenatal period or after birth, health minister C Vijayabaskar said, at the inauguration of three laboratories at the hospital, which will offer free services to pregnant women and children.

“We used to send blood samples of children to NIMHANS in Bangalore. With state of the art equipment, our lab can work as a referral centre for diagnosis of rare diseases. Although some private hospitals can test for these diseases they are unaffordable for many parents,” he said at the first year anniversary of JICA outpatient ward at the hospital.

The labs —– molecular, genetic and metabolic — constructed at a cost of Rs 10 crore each will screen for various genetic, metabolic and chromosomal disorders. “It may not be possible to cure all rare ailments but simple drugs can help many children with rare disease lead a normal life. It will also help us do corrective surgeries early for better outcomes,” said Dr S Srinivasan, coordinator, State Nodal Centre-National Rural Health Mission. The state, which has an infant mortality of 17 per 1,000 live births against the national average of 37 has aimed to bring it down to 10 in the next five years, he said.

As part of the effort, the hospital on Thursday opened a simulation lab that will train postgraduate medical students in emergency management of infants and children.

Meanwhile, the hospital’s OP ward, built with funds from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) from has so far treated more than 5.7 lakh children, Vijayabaskar said in the presence of Japanese council general Kojiro Uchiyama and JICA India senior representative Toru Uemachi. “Soon, we will open a state-of-the-art cardio thoracic centre and neonatal cath lab for the hospital,” he said.

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