11/28/2014 10:24 EST | Updated 01/28/2015 05:59 EST

P.E.I. newborns to be screened for more conditions under new program

CHARLOTTETOWN - The Prince Edward Island government is doubling the number of conditions children are screened for after birth.

The government says it will work with the IWK Health Centre in Halifax to ensure the early detection of conditions in newborns, including cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia.

The expanded program is expected to cost the province an additional $70,000 a year.

P.E.I. currently screens for 13 conditions, but the government says that number will rise to 26 within the next two years.

The program will also offer followup appointments, clinical visits and referrals to specialists for newborns who test positive for certain conditions.

The IWK Health Centre already does screening for babies born in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.