Solutions to improve health equity do not simply reside within the health sector. Public spending should strengthen sustainable employment and address health-adverse working conditionsOn Tuesday 3 February 2015 // DRIVERS showcased its policy recommendations for improving health equity at its conference ‘Tackling societal challenges: solutions from DRIVERS for Health Equity’. The event, co-hosted by Julie Ward MEP (S&D, UK) and Eider Gardiazabal Rubial MEP (S&D, ES), brought together European and national policy-makers, civil society, industry and academics to discuss how DRIVERS’ latest evidence can be taken forward and integrated into existing and future policy initiatives.

Our vision is for every child to be born with the best health possible and the potential for a full and productive life.A network of 12 leading global health organizations announces the first annual World Birth Defects Day, to be observed March 3, 2015. The purpose of this observance is to raise awareness about the occurrence of birth defects, develop and implement primary prevention programs, and expand referral and care services for all persons with birth defects.

An estimated 1,400 children are born with spina bifida in Uganda annually10 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.

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