PerkinElmer Helps Egypt's Ministry of Health and Population Build World's Largest Newborn Screening Laboratory

PerkinElmer Helps Egypt's Ministry of Health and Population Build World's Largest Newborn Screening Laboratory

September 19, 2011 at 8:00 AM EDT

State-of-the-art centralized newborn screening laboratory expands nationwide access to neonatal screening and improves screening times for a common congenital condition

TURKU, Finland--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- PerkinElmer, Inc., a global leader focused on improving the health and safety of people and the environment, today announced the opening of the world's largest centralized laboratory for newborn screening, in support of The Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP).

PerkinElmer, together with its distribution partner HVD Vertriebs GMBH, built the Cairo-based laboratory in collaboration with the MOHP.

The new laboratory will be the world's largest in terms of the number of newborn patient samples processed by a single facility, as part of an improved national newborn health screening program for congenital hypothyroidism, a serious condition which affects up to one in 1,400 babies born in the Middle East1. The newborn screening will be offered free of charge to all Egyptian families, and is targeted to reach approximately 96 percent of babies born in the country.

"Egypt's population is growing faster than any other country in the Middle East, and its government has made a successful long-term investment over the last decade, to improve neonatal health," said Hanna Halme, vice president, Diagnostics, PerkinElmer. "This anticipatory approach sets a new standard for the way countries manage newborn care."

Halme added, "The significant upgrade of Egypt's national screening system will provide critical early insights into the health of newborns with advanced testing and ultimately, opportunities for earlier intervention when necessary. Test results will also be stored in a central database, providing Egyptian healthcare professionals with timely information and improved population health insights."

The screening service analyzes blood samples collected from newborns via a quick heel-prick test at more than 4,000 Primary Health Care (PHC) facilities located throughout the 29 Egyptian governorates. The MOHP started the national neonatal screening program for congenital hypothyroidism more than 10 years ago. The great success of this program is the result of a committed collaboration between the PHC sector and the Central Laboratory and Health Insurance Sectors of the MOHP. Until now, testing was performed at 14 separate laboratories, geographically dispersed throughout Egypt.

Congenital hypothyroidism is a thyroid-specific hormone deficiency that is detectible at birth, with some of the highest incidence rates reported in the Middle East1. The condition should be detected and treated within one to two weeks of life. Early intervention is critical. If left untreated, congenital hypothyroidism can lead to growth failure and mental retardation. Treatment consists of an oral thyroid medication, with the dose and hormone levels monitored and adjusted as the child grows.

PerkinElmer's distribution partner, HVD Vertriebs GMBH, and its subsidiary in Egypt recently equipped the new central laboratory with PerkinElmer's Genetic Screening Processor® (GSP®) and Specimen Gate® Informatics, the most sophisticated neonatal screening tools available. In addition to training and installation, the project included renovation and modernization of the laboratory facilities and updating the information technology system.

About PerkinElmer, Inc.

PerkinElmer, Inc. is a global leader focused on improving the health and safety of people and the environment. The Company reported revenue of approximately $1.7 billion in 2010, has about 6,200 employees serving customers in more than 150 countries, and is a component of the S&P 500 Index. Additional information is available through 1-877-PKI-NYSE, or at

1 Sack J, Feldman I, Kaiserman I. Congenital hypothyroidism screening in the West Bank: a test case for screening in developing regions. Horm Res. Sep 1998;50(3):151-4. [Medline].

Edelman (for PerkinElmer)
Amanda L. Connolly, 404-832-6785

Source: PerkinElmer, Inc.

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