25 January 2017 // Citizens with disabilities continue experiencing inequalities and barriers in enjoying their right to health both home and abroad. This was the key worrying finding of the research IF undertook in 2016 and presented today at the European Parliament: "Right to health: reality of persons with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus", and "Impact of cross-border healthcare on persons with disabilities and chronic conditions". Human rights of persons with disabilities and chronic conditions are routinely violated as they struggle to access appropriate and affordable disability-specific as well as general healthcare in their community. Lack of multidisciplinary care for people with complex disabilities, such as spina bifida and hydrocephalus, limited coverage of mobility devices and continence aids, as well as waiting times have been named as the most serious barriers experienced by surveyed Europeans. Only close to 29% of respondents were satisfied with the care they received.
24 January 2017 // During the Smarter Futures Steering Group meeting in Amsterdam this week, the Africa Maize Fortification Strategy 2017-2026 was presented. The strategy has been developed by representatives of government and the grain milling sector of 14 African countries and their developmental partners during a meeting organised by Smarter Futures in Tanzania. Though maize is the primary cereal consumed in many countries in Africa, less than 30% of the industrially milled maize on the continent is fortified. The authors of the strategy have committed themselves to adopt and adapt the strategy to their country specific contexts to fully eradicate micronutrient malnutrition on the face of Africa. Read more on the Smarter Futures website.
For World Folic Acid Awareness Week, which takes place this year from January 9th -15th, we invite you to explore the new pages on the IF website that are part of our Global Prevention Initiative (GPI). Most of you will know that Folic Acid is key to reducing the risk of most neural tube defects (NTDs), but do you know when to start taking it? Do you know the difference between Folic Acid and folate, and why both supplementation and fortification are essential? Don't forget to check out the facts and misconception on our Folic Acid page, and to learn more about high risk women. For instance, did you know that diabetes and obesity can increase the risk in pregnancy that a baby will develop an NTD?