27 April 2015 // In April 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) released the Guideline on Optimal Serum and Red Blood Cell Folate Concentrations in Women of Reproductive Age for Prevention of Neural Tube Defects. The guideline provides global, evidence-informed recommendations on blood folate concentrations in women of reproductive age to reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) in populations. It aims to help Member States and their partners in their efforts to make informed decisions on the appropriate nutrition actions to take to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), in particular reduction of child mortality (MDG 4) and improvement of maternal health (MDG 5), through the establishment of appropriate threshold values for red blood cell folate concentrations at the population level.
23 April 2015 // On Saturday March 28, 2015, IF's Global Experts Panel held its second meeting, kindly hosted by Boston Children's Hospital. The aim of the meeting was to get better acquainted with each other's work, learn about IF and its Strategic Plan, and to establish a workplan. The panel also discussed the latest developments in the fields of Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus treatment and in the area of prevention. Anne Molloy and Richard Finnell wrote a proposal to help the Bo Hjelt Foundation for Spina Bifida set research priorities with regard to the causes of Spina Bifida for the next 3 years. In 2015, the GEP will look into the possibilities of writing and publishing a Lancet Seminar or white paper on Spina Bifida. All panel members will be contributing to IF's next conference, eQuality, taking place in Italy, October 16-18, 2015, and the GEP will have its next meeting there.
31 March 2015 // International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, in consultation with the members and experts, made a submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in view of its ongoing work to draft a General Comment on the Rights of Adolescents. In its submission, IF focused on the rights of adolescents with spina bifida and hydrocephalus during the sensitive stage of transition from childhood to adulthood. The submission covers the need for a multidisciplinary approach to transition, which includes high level of appropriate healthcare services, social and educational support as well as the importance of informal peer support. These elements are essential for fostering the young person's growing maturity and preparing her or him for an independent life in the community and the responsible self-management of health needs for the best attainable standard of health.