June 13, 2024

They are adding $20 million over two years for research into women’s health.

The Alberta Women’s Health Foundation will continue to look into areas like cervical cancer, heart disease, and other common women’s health conditions. Some of the money will be used to recruit top researchers to the province.

As well, the Calgary Health Foundation will conduct cancer research and to develop a rapid access clinic and pelvic floor health projects.

Calgary Health Foundation President and CEO Murray Sigler says the investment will enable them to give the necessary attention, funding, and advocacy to the unique challenges of women.

“Through partnerships like the one with Dr. Erin Brennand and the Calgary Pelvic Floor Clinic, the funding will allow us to confront the gaps in the diagnosis, treatment and care of women’s health concerns,” says Sigler.

Newborn Screenings

The government’s other announcement was to add another four conditions to the Alberta Newborn Screening Program. This comes with an additional $6 million grant.

Shortly after babies are both, they are tested for 22 conditions to ensure that they can get timely access to treatments if necessary.

The new conditions include:

  • Congenital cytomegalovirus: Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a condition that can result in various health issues for the baby, including hearing loss, vision impairment, intellectual disability and developmental delays.
  • Argininosuccinic aciduria: Argininosuccinic aciduria is a rare genetic disorder with symptoms that can include poor feeding, vomiting, lethargy, developmental delays, seizures and coma. Treatment often involves a special diet and medications to manage ammonia levels.
  • Guanidinoacetate methyltransferase deficiency: Guanidinoacetate methyltransferase deficiency is a rare genetic disorder that can lead to developmental delays, seizures and other problems.
  • Mucopolysaccharidosis type 1: Mucopolysaccharidosis type 1 (MPS I) is a rare genetic disorder that can cause skeletal abnormalities, organ enlargement, heart and respiratory problems, developmental delays, intellectual disability, and vision and hearing loss.

That brings the total number of conditions they test for up to 26.

Alberta Children’s Hospital Metabolic Specialist Dr. Eliza Phillips says the expansion will make the program one of the most comprehensive in Canada.

“Newborn screening is an incredibly successful program allowing us to identify and treat children for many diseases before they begin showing irreversible symptoms,” says Dr. Phillips. “By expanding the list of conditions we screen for in Alberta, we dramatically improve patient outcomes and bring the benefits of advanced diagnosis and treatment to children and families affected by serious but treatable genetic diseases”

In 2022-23, around 99.2 per cent of Alberta-born infants were screened. Results were ready for 98.85 per cent of those babies within 10 days.

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