Confirmed victory

Early diagnosis of cystic fibrosis through newborn screening provides identified children with a better start in life.

Letter to
Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale
Minister of Health and Community Services for Newfoundland and Labrador Susan Sullivan
We call on you and your Government to start screening newborn babies in Newfoundland and Labrador for cystic fibrosis.

One in 3,600 babies born in Canada has cystic fibrosis (CF), the most common fatal genetic disease affecting children and young adults in Canada. Cystic fibrosis is a multi-system disease affecting primarily the lungs and digestive system, causing severe respiratory problems and making it difficult to absorb nutrients from food. Virtually all deaths caused by cystic fibrosis are due to lung disease. There is no cure.

Earlier diagnosis means earlier treatment to prevent irreversible damage to the lungs and digestive system. Newborn screening for cystic fibrosis has been proven to lead to improved weight gain, cognitive function, respiratory and digestive function in babies and children with the disease.

That’s why CF newborn screening is currently the standard of care for five Canadian provinces and two territories (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Yukon and Nunavut), as well as all fifty states in the U.S., much of the European Union, and Australia and New Zealand. The Government of Nova Scotia announced in April 2013 that the province will begin screening newborn babies for cystic fibrosis - and it is likely New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island will follow suit given that their newborn screening is done in Nova Scotia.

Newfoundland and Labrador does not currently screen newborns for cystic fibrosis.

Premier, we call on you to make sure every child born with this devastating disease deserves a healthier start at life.