Neonatal jaundice is an under addressed, critical crisis in developing countries. Jaundice affects more than half of all newborns simply because infants have not yet developed the liver enzyme responsible for excreting the product (bilirubin) of red blood cell destruction. Jaundice itself is not a major health concern when proper feeding, access to sunlight, and early diagnosis and treatment are available. For infants in developing countries, jaundice is under diagnosed, under treated, and often develops into severe jaundice, resulting in brain damage (called Kernicterus) and even death.
When you look at the communities where Kernicterus is most prevalent, specifically in developing nations, unfortunately you also see the regions where brain damage is most highly stigmatized, where resources to provide independence are most scarce, and where simple diagnostic tools are virtually non-existent. The potential for minimal investments to have a significant impact on positive patient outcomes and enhanced quality of life is immense.
Together with Medical Director, Dr. Vinod K. Bhutani, PGPR has developed a core network of international experts working to prevent Kernicterus around the world. This Global Prevention of Kernicterus Network (Global PKN) is focused on understanding the scope of the problem, determining ways to eradicate it, and helping implement effective solutions.
Professional paediatric associations and NGOs have also committed to participating and advancing Global PKNs agenda toward evidence-based research and solutions.
Global PKN leaders are meeting with experts around the world to help establish regional networks that will link in with the Global PKN. The idea behind these regional networks is to take a ground up approach in understanding how best to work with communities to develop sustainable methods of detection and prevention.