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Screening System

Institutions and practices

Hospitals, birthing centres, midwifery practices and primary health care providers have the following responsibilities in newborn screening: 

  • Parent education 
  • Specimen collection, shipping and tracking 
  • Point of care testing, i.e., screening for critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) 
  • Providing accurate and complete information for every screened infant 
  • Prompt follow-up of screen positives for CCHD and in the event of an unsatisfactory sample or a missed screen  

The team at NSO includes clinical, laboratory, and administrative staff who take part in the following: 

  • Laboratory testing of newborn screening samples 
  • Data management 
  • Quality assurance 
  • Education 
  • Research and development 

The NSO Advisory Council (NSO-AC) is an independent advisory body of health and other professionals with expertise in newborn and childhood screening. The mandate of the NSO-AC is to advise the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MoHLTC) and NSO on its policies and programs related to newborn screening. Please visit the NSO Governance page to learn more about the governance of NSO and the activities of the NSO-AC. 

When babies screen positive for one or more of the diseases tested, NSO refers them to specialized follow-up centres. We call these centres Regional Treatment Centres. Health care providers at these centres are responsible for: 

  • Diagnostic testing of babies who screen positive 
  • Treatment and management of true positive cases 
  • Providing follow-up details to NSO 
  • Education of local healthcare providers 

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