Power Your Life - Preconception health programme Utah (USA)

The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) has initiated a public health campaign aimed at promoting healthy, prepregnancy living among 18- to 25-year-old women in Utah. The target audience includes women who are preparing to have children, those who are between pregnancies and those who aren't even thinking about having families yet. The Centers for Disease Control has made improving preconception health a national priority. In Utah, surveys show many young women don't know some of the keys to healthy prepregnancy living, and most pregnant women don't take a vitamin with folic acid, which prevents birth defects that form early in pregnancy. According to UDOH, the rate of some preventable birth defects is on the rise in Utah. In 1999, 5.6 of every 10,000 Utah babies were born with neural tube defects. By 2008 the number was up to 8.5. A user-friendly website can be visited at www.poweryourlife.org.
The Power Your Life website offers healthy, prepregnancy living information both in English and in Spanish

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)

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