The International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Surveillance and Research (ICBDSR) in collaboration with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) is organising a Training Program on Surveillance and Prevention of Birth Defects and Preterm Birth at the WHO Headquarters in Geneva. The training will take place from 27 to 31 May 2013. This four-day course is an intensive, theoretical and practical course that blends knowledge and practice in a skill-based workshop. The primary goal is to help countries promote primary prevention and the health of children with birth defects by developing and strengthening surveillance activities, developing expertise, building technical capacity, and promoting international cooperation.
The International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus is pleased to be officially a member of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH). The Partnership is an alliance of approximately 450 organisations, fast responding to the rapidly changing global health demands, mobilizing its base of members and partners to accelerate progress towards the Health Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and particularly MDGs 4 & 5. The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health supported and facilitated the development of the "Global Strategy for Women's' and Children's Health" launched by the United Nations Secretary General on the 22nd of September 2010, in New York, during the High-Level UN MDGs Summit.
An article written by IF president Pierre Mertens and Femke Bannink (Child-Help/AVSI) has been published in the December issue of the Journal of Medicine and the Person. This article describes the journey of IF to improve care for children with spina bifida in East and Southern Africa in collaboration with local hospitals and community-based rehabilitation programs. A review of the various components of the program was done to describe successes and challenges of the past
20 years. Active parent involvement in care and an interdisciplinary approach are crucial for a successful llifelong care program, as well as engaging patients as partners in the development of understandable information for other patients. The IF program shows how a cost-saving approach is feasible and does not need to imply a decrease in quality of care.