10 February 2015 // Timely intake of an adequate amount of folic acid before and during the first three months of pregnancy is one of the known measures to prevent Spina Bifida. Interviews were held with 394 women in northern Uganda and researchers established that the folic acid intake in this area is low. This is attributed to limited education and understanding of women and health workers about the importance of early folic acid intake, late presentation of women at antenatal care, a poor supply chain and dilapidated health services caused by war and poverty. A combination of food fortification with folic acid, sensitization of health workers and women, and improving the folic acid supply is recommended to reduce the number of children born with neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
The open access article "Prevention of spina bifida: folic acid intake during pregnancy in Gulu district, northern Uganda" by Femke Bannink, Rita Larok, Peter Kirabira, Lieven Bauwens (IF) and Geert van Hove has recently been published in the Pan African Medical Journal.
2 February 2015 // Ms. Laura Ferrara, MEP, is the European Parliament Rapporteur of the own-initiative report on the situation of fundamental rights in the European Union for the years 2013-2014. She believes the time has come for the EU to set up a true internal strategy on fundamental rights. As the only European institution directly elected by citizens, she wants the Parliament to play an important role in shaping this strategy and for civil society organisations to be fully involved in this process. In order to shed some light on the situation of fundamental rights in the Member States, she asks organisations to share their experiences. We encourage you to respond to her questions:
1) According to your direct experience, what are the major issues of fundamental rights in your country and in the EU?
2) In particular, could you outline your experience - if any - on the impact of austerity measures on fundamental rights in your country but also the impact of those measures on your institution?
30 January 2015 // Getting ready for the assessment of the European Union's work in implementing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), the Disability Intergroup has elected a whole new Bureau consisting of four co-presidents and eight vice-presidents.
This election took place in Strasbourg, during the first meeting the Disability Intergroup had had since being re-established. Although Intergroups have no legislative power, they are key elements in promoting an exchange of views between people from all nationalities and political groups.