CHILDREN diagnosed with Phenylketonuria, also known as PKU, can now get free access to specially made food in Shenzhen until they turn 18, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported Thursday.
The city's health and family planning commission and the finance commission has recently jointly launched a program to provide free specially made food for children suffering from PKU, the report said.
Applicants should be below 18 years old and register with the Shenzhen Maternity and Child Healthcare Hospital. They should have Shenzhen hukou or be born in the city with legal residence permits.
According to the report, eligible applicants can get specially made food starting from next year from the Shenzhen Maternity and Child Healthcare Hospital until they are 18 years old. The city's finance commission will set aside 5,000 to 20,000 yuan per child to ensure the food will be delivered on time.
PKU is a rare inherited disorder that causes an amino acid called phenylalanine to build up in the patient's body. Without the enzyme necessary to process phenylalanine, a dangerous buildup can develop when a person with PKU eats foods that are high in protein. This can eventually lead to serious health complications.
For their entire lives, people suffering from PKU must follow a strict diet that limits phenylalanine intake, which is found mostly in foods that contain protein. Food that fits such a limited diet costs 1,000 to 2,000 yuan (US$152 to 303) per month for children, which is an immense financial burden for some families.
The city's neonatal disease screening center has screened over 2.2 million newborns in Shenzhen since it was launched in 1998, and 15,000 babies were diagnosed with neonatal diseases and treated in a timely manner. As of last year, a total of 86 babies in the city have been diagnosed with PKU at the center.