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Has your newborn baby been screened and received these vaccines?

<p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong><img src="/nairobi/PublishingImages/cervical%20cancer%20body.jpg" alt="" style="margin: 5px;"/></strong></span> </p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>Why is newborn screening important?</strong></span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Newborn screening identifies conditions that can affect a child&#39;s long-term health or survival. Early detection, diagnosis, and intervention can prevent death or disability.  With a simple blood test, doctors can check for rare genetic, hormone-related, and metabolic conditions that can cause serious health problems.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>What conditions are newborns screened for at AKUH Nairobi?</strong></span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Congenital Hypothyroidism (CH) can lead to mental retardation if not identified and treated within the first few weeks of birth. This test is usually ordered on the 5th day of life at AKUH.  CH is a disorder which if screened for in every newborn has a high benefit-to-risk ratio.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>And how do vaccines work?</strong></span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Vaccines stimulate the body&#39;s immune system to make antibodies which provide protection against many diseases. Vaccination is the safest way to protect children against infectious diseases. Once they have been vaccinated, they should have the ability to fight off the diseases that they have been vaccinated against. Vaccines are therefore very important in reducing infant and child mortality.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>What vaccines are recommended for children upto the age of 5 years ?</strong></span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>BCG</strong></span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">BCG is given at birth to prevent tuberculosis (TB). This disease is very infectious and mainly affects the lungs. It is a major cause of death worldwide but can be prevented by vaccination.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>Polio</strong></span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Polio is a highly infectious viral disease which may lead to paralysis and death. The polio vaccine which helps to prevent this disease is administered at birth, six weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks of life. Additional boosters are given at 18 months and five years.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>Hepatitis B</strong></span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Hepatitis B is a serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the liver. The virus, which is called hepatitis B virus (HBV) can cause chronic liver infection, liver failure as well as liver cancer. Hepatitis B vaccine is administered at birth, six weeks, 10 weeks and 14 weeks of life.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>Pneumococcal</strong></span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">The Pneumococcus organism may cause pneumonia which affects the lungs as well as meningitis which affects the brain. This vaccine is given at six weeks, 10 weeks, 14 weeks and a booster dose at 15 months of life.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>Diptheria</strong></span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Infection with Diptheria may lead to complications such as swelling of the heart muscle, heart failure, coma, paralysis and death. The vaccine to prevent Diptheria is given at six weeks, ten weeks and fourteen weeks of life with a booster being administered at eighteen months of life. A further booster is recommended at five years of life.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>Tetanus</strong></span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Tetanus infection may lead to stiffness in the neck and abdominal muscles, difficulty in swallowing, muscle spasms as well as death. The vaccine to prevent this illness is given at six, ten and fourteen weeks of life with boosters being at eighteen months of life and five years of life.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>Pertussis</strong></span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Infection with Pertussis may lead to severe cough (whopping in nature), runny nose, apnea (a pause in breathing in infants) Pneumonia (infection in the lungs) as well as death. Pertussis vaccine is given at six, ten and fourteen weeks of life with boosters being administered at eighteen months as well as 5 years of life.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>Hib (Haemophilus Infuenzae B)</strong></span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">HIB infection may lead to Meningitis (infection of the covering around the brain and spinal cord), epiglottitis (life-threatening infection of the windpipe and lead to serious breathing problems), pneumonia (infection in the lungs) and death. This vaccine is given at six, ten and fourteen weeks of life with boosters being given at eighteen months of life.  </span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>Rotavirus</strong></span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Rotavirus can cause severe watery diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and abdominal pain. Children who contract rotavirus disease can become dehydrated and needing hospitalization. Rotavirus vaccine is given orally and protects children against this disease. It can be given as two doses or three doses (dependent on the type given).</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella)</strong></span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">The MMR vaccine is very effective at protecting children against the complications caused by measles, mumps, and rubella. Measles/Rubella (MR) Vaccine is given at 9 months of life, while the MMR vaccine is given at 15 months of life.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;">Infection with Measles may lead to Encephalitis (brain swelling), pneumonia (infection in the lungs) and death. Mumps infection can present with swollen salivary glands (under the jaw), fever, headache, tiredness, muscle pain as well as Meningitis (infection of the covering around the brain and spinal cord), encephalitis (brain swelling), inflammation of testicles or ovaries and deafness. Rubella infection may cause rash, fever, swollen lymph nodes and may lead to very serious complications in pregnant women such as miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery and birth defects.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>What other vaccines are available at AKUH for children upto the age of five years?</strong></span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>Flu vaccine</strong> - administered at six and seven months of life and thereafter annually</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>Varicella vaccine</strong> which helps to prevent Chicken Pox is offered in two doses (one year and second dose after six weeks of receiving the first dose) helps prevent Chicken Pox Infection. Chicken Pox is a highly contagious illness which may lead to complications such as infected blisters, swelling of the brain (Encephalitis) and Pneumonia.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>Meningococcal vaccine</strong> is given in two doses starting at ten months of life and helps to prevent diseases caused by the Neisseria Meningitidis Organism. These illnesses can be deadly and severe, they can cause infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord(Meningitis) as well as bloodstream infections (bacteremia or septicaemia).</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>Cholera vaccine</strong> which is given when a child is one year old with a repeat dose after two weeks of giving the first dose helps to prevent infection with Cholera. This disease can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting which in turn can lead to dehydration and death.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>Hepatitis A Vaccine</strong> helps to prevent infection with Hepatitis A. The infection may lead to liver disease. The Vaccine is administered at one year of life with a second dose six months after the first dose.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><strong>Typhoid vaccine</strong> is given at the age of two years of life and helps to prevent Typhoid Fever. This infection can be life-threatening. Symptoms of infection include persistent high fever, weakness, stomach pain, headache, diarrhea or constipation, cough, and loss of appetite.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><em>By Dr Syama Sinuff, Consultant Paediatrician at Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi</em>
</span></p><p><span style="font-family: helvetica;"><em>This article was first published in the <a href=""><strong style="font-family: helvetica;">Business Daily</strong></a><strong> </strong>Newspaper on January 14, 2022.</em>

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