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Universal Newborn Screening for Severe Combined Immune Deficiency

Thursday June 21, I talked with the Minister of Health about recent advances in screening for severe combined immune deficiency.   My comments and questions and the Minister's answers are below.
Mr Gerrard;  I would, for the minister's interest, table a document which is a recent study, and this is a finding recently that has been made by Manitoba researchers that there is a very good way of neonatal universal newborn screening for severe combined immune deficiency and that this is an area where, in fact, you can identify early on these children and prevent problems later on and be able to deal with them more effectively. And so I would recommend in this area that the minister looks at this, and I think that by having a preventive services plan, proposals like this, when they come forward, could be looked at expeditiously on a cost-benefit basis. The cost of looking after these infants when they're diagnosed later rather than sooner can be extraordinarily high.
      SMr. Goertzen: In terms of the report that the member's tabled, I do appreciate that. I mean, there's always new information and new research being done in the area of health. Having had the opportunity to recently attend the BIO conference, I was inundated with new research both from pharmaceutical companies and other biotech companies and the incredible work that they're doing and recognize that a day doesn't go by where there's not new advancements and new research that's being put out there. So I'll provide this research to officials in my department and certainly we'll look at it.
      I know that we are a leader in terms of newborn screening, Mr. Chairperson, based on some of the efforts that's been done in–and members in this Chamber. I know the member opposite, the member for River Heights (Mr. Gerrard), advocated for increased newborn screening. I know that the former member for Minnedosa, Leanne Rowat, had a private member's bill on newborn infant hearing screening, and that was passed, and then certainly a legacy of hers. And so I think we're a leader already when it comes to screening for newborns, but that doesn't mean we can't do more. So I appreciate the member tabling that report.


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