The success of blood spot newborn screening in the USA led to early screening efforts in parts of the Asia Pacific Region in the mid-1960s. While there were early screening leaders in the region, many of the countries with depressed and developing economies are only now beginning organized screening efforts. Four periods of screening growth in the Asia Pacific region were identified. Beginning in the 1960s, blood spot screening began in New Zealand and Australia, followed by Japan and a cord blood screening programme for G6PD deficiency in Singapore. In the 1980s, established programmes added congenital hypothyroidism and new programmes developed in Taiwan, Hong Kong, China (Shanghai), India and Malaysia. Programmes developing in the 1990s built on the experience of others developing more rapidly in Korea, Thailand and the Philippines. In the 2000s, with limited funding support from the International Atomic Energy Agency, there has been screening programme development around detection of congenital hypothyroidism in Indonesia, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Pakistan. Palau has recently contracted with the Philippine newborn screening programme. There is little information available on newborn screening activities in Nepal, Cambodia, Laos and the other Pacific Island nations, with no organized screening efforts apparent. Since approximately half of the births in the world occur in the Asia Pacific Region, it is important to continue the ongoing implementation and expansion efforts so that these children can attain the same health status as children in more developed parts of the world and their full potential can be realized.
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