Children’s screening launched for disease
Shanghai recently announced a citywide screening program to detect kidney disease in babies and children.
The five-year program was jointly launched by the Shanghai Children’s Health Foundation and the Children’s Hospital of Fudan University.
It includes urine tests for schoolchildren and ultrasound checks for newborns in high-risk groups of kidney diseases.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a common pediatric disease, and some cases can develop into chronic kidney insufficiency and even the uremia. Meanwhile, children with CKD are also in the high-risk group for adult uremia.
Such a dual check screening program can identify about 90 percent of children with CKD, which will improve the diagnosis and treatment of such disease, said Dr Xu Hong, of the Children’s Hospital of Fudan University.
So far, a urine test is the simple and effective way for early detection of glomerulonephritis, a term used to refer to several renal diseases usually affecting both kidneys. A study of more than 40,000 middle and primary school students in Shanghai from 2003 to 2005 found that the asymptomatic abnormal rate in urine tests was about 1 per cent. In addition, the abnormal rate among the group aged 12 to 13 was much higher than other age groups.
Medical experts then established the first five-year urine screening program for 2007 to 2011 in the city.
In 2012, the Shanghai government became the first in China to introduce free urine screening for all first-graders in primary schools. Schools in some districts have already listed a urine test as a regular part of health checks.
The new round of CKD screening includes ultrasound checks for newborns, which can help identify congenital problems such as kidney deformities or urinary tract, the main causes of CKD in children.
In China, congenital kidney or urinary tract deformity in children is about 1.5 to 3 percent, doctors said.
“To establish a comprehensive screening strategy that combined urine tests and ultrasound checks will greatly boost the early discovery and early treatment of children with CKD,” Xu said.
Under the new program, a comprehensive diagnosis and treatment, and patients transferring network will be established, which will cover schools, community health and specialized hospitals.
The program will also carry out a series of public education activities to increase parents’ awareness of kidney health issues.