3 March 2015 // More than 8 million babies worldwide are born each year with a serious birth defect. Birth defects are a leading cause of death in the first year of life, and babies who survive may have life-long physical or mental disabilities. Spina bifida is the most common kind of neural tube defect (also called NTD). NTDs are birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. Birth defects are health conditions that are present at birth.

This training workshop will include focused lectures and practical small group sessions. This workshop is intended for participants with a working knowledge of surveillance, and ideally those who have attended a birth defects surveillance workshop previously. 2-5 March 2015 // WHO Department of Nutrition for Health and Development in collaboration with the International Clearinghouse of Birth Defects Surveillance and Research, the International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, and the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are convening an intermediate level training workshop on surveillance and prevention of congenital anomalies and preterm births in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania from 2 to 5 March 2015.

Over 6000 different rare diseases have been identified to date, directly affecting the daily life of more than 30 million people in Europe alone28 February 2015 // marks the eighth international Rare Disease Day coordinated by EURORDIS. On and around this day hundreds of patient organisations from more than 80 countries and regions worldwide are planning awareness-raising activities around the slogan Day-by-day, hand-in-hand.

The main objective of Rare Disease Day is to raise awareness amongst the general public and decision-makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients' lives. The campaign targets primarily the general public and also seeks to raise awareness amongst policy makers, public authorities, industry representatives, researchers, health professionals and anyone who has a genuine interest in rare diseases.

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