US Center on Birth Defects offers free preconception information materials

The CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) is dedicated to helping people live to the fullest. Much of their work focuses on protecting people who are especially vulnerable to health risks - babies, children, people with blood disorders, and people with disabilities. Especially for women of childbearing age, they offer free educational materials about preconception health and about the importance of the use of Folic Acid. A number of their publications is available both in English and in Spanish. People in the United States can order the material through the CDC website. All the materials are also available as a PDF download. CDC also offers Public Service Announcements and Podcasts.
The mission of the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities is to promote the health of babies, children and adults

Advocating for mandatory Folic Acid fortification in Uganda

Members of the Ugandan Parliament on the Committee of Gender, Labor and Social Development visited CURE Children's Hospital to learn more about Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus and what can be done to prevent these conditions. They received information from IF staff member Rebecca Nakitto Sagabo, CURE Hospital's Executive Director Derek Johnson, and nurse Florence Kalikwani. Sister Kalikwani emphasized the need to educate nurses about the importance of Folic Acid for all women of childbearing age. Dr. William Ssali and Louise Sserunjonji, both participating in a GAIN programme, presented a brief on fortification of food by adding vitamins and minerals. Dr. Ssali urged for the introduction of selected mandatory fortification. He also asked the members to increase awareness on fortification of food since they are the policy makers. Fortifying food and/or flour with Folic Acid is a proven way to help prevent neural tube defects such as Spina Bifida. A full report can be read here.
Eunice, who had surgery at CURE Children's Hospital of Uganda for Spina Bifida, and a CURE staff member (Photo courtesy Derek Johnson)

World Health Assembly adopts Birth Defects Resolution

Congenital disorders are a common condition. The WHO estimates that some 260.000 deaths worldwide (about 7% of all neonatal deaths) were caused by birth defects in 2004. The most common serious congenital disorders are congenital heart defects, neural tube defects and Down syndrome. To reduce the number of birth defects, the 63rd World Health Assembly has adopted a Resolution Birth Defects (WHA63.17). Member States are urged among others to develop expertise and to build capacity on the prevention of birth defects and care of children with birth defects; to raise awareness among all relevant stakeholders about the importance of birth defects as a cause of child morbidity and mortality; and to take all necessary measures to ensure the full enjoyment by children with disabilities of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis with other children and give priority to the child's well-being and support and facilitate families in their childcare and child-raising efforts. Read the WHO Report Birth Defects.
WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan, during the 63rd World Health Assembly

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