What is the GPI?

The Global Prevention Initiative (GPI) aims to tackle the primary prevention of neural tube defects (NTDs) and hydrocephalus as a united global community.

It's goal is to unite all relevant organisations, NGOs, Governments, policy makers, health services, health professionals and individuals around the world to maximize the risk reduction of NTDs and hydrocephalus.



The GPI is working towards WHO accreditation, with its aims being directly aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. For more information about the GPI, please contact IF’s Programme Manager Global Prevention, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 





How the GPI will support its global community

The WHO Birth Defects Resolution, urged member states to increase their coverage of effective primary prevention measures (such as folic acid supplementation) and to develop expertise and build capacity on the prevention of birth defects (and care of children born with birth defects). This WHO recommendation for priority action from the international community to;
‘Facilitate and support international networking on birth defect prevention and care programmes, with an emphasis on developing common approaches’
became the foundation for the development of the GPI.


With a coordinated global network and expert knowledge, the GPI will help to facilitate more effective global communications and knowledge sharing to further develop this expertise, enabling us to, ‘strengthen research and studies on etiology, diagnosis and prevention of major birth defects and to promote international cooperation in combating them.’


The GPI will help to support member states in developing national plans for implementation of effective interventions to prevent neural tube birth defects, including the development and delivery of effective folic acid awareness/prevention initiatives, education and food fortification strategies, in line with the aims of the World Health Organisation. The GPI also aims to tackle the additional challenge of reducing known risks associated with hydrocephalus. The WHO has identified the need for a united approach if we are to maximise the potential risk reduction of NTDs. What if, by working together across the globe we could drastically reduce the number of pregnancies affected by NTDs ……..then surely we have to? The success of the GPI depends on us working with you to achieve these shared goals! We can’t do it alone!


How we work with IF member organisations

1. As an IF member, we will work with you to help develop folic acid awareness and prevention materials to support activity in your country/region.
2. We can work with you to engage local/national government and healthcare professionals to improve/develop policy to support prevention goals.
3. We can support you in campaigning for fortification in countries that don’t currently have a mandate.
4. We can help you develop funding proposals for local/community based prevention projects.

How we work with other partners

1. We can work with governments and healthcare providers to develop folic acid awareness and prevention materials.
2. We can work with governments and healthcare professionals to help develop prevention policy and strategy in line with WHO standards and SDGs.
3. We can work with other NGOs, community projects and health professionals to help integrate prevention advice into existing related work projects.
4. We will encourage and promote new research to help further the aims of the GPI.

If you would like to work with the GPI to:
1. raise awareness and promote prevention in your country/region
2. develop a prevention programme for your country/region
3. support your existing prevention activity
4. develop promotional materials to raise awareness
5. campaign for fortification in your country
6. provide translations of GPI materials to help us reach a wider audience
7. sponsor prevention activity

Or, if you have any other ideas about how you might be able to work with us. Please contact Martine Austin, Programme Manager Global Prevention at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


Why do we need the GPI?

Whilst in theory it may seem simple, there are many significant obstacles to prevention.
• Too few national prevention strategies in line with the WHO recommendations.
• Global lack of basic public health promotion and information.
• The fact that globally over 50% of pregnancies are unplanned.
• Widespread misconceptions about folic acid.
• Inconsistent and insufficient ‘prevention specific’ knowledge among health professionals.
• Widespread lack of awareness of folic acid and why it’s so important.
• Difficultly affording/obtaining folic acid supplements in some countries.
• Policy decisions against fortification of staple foods.



PRG Logo Bevel CPWe would like to sincerely thank Vitabiotics Pregnacare, the principal partner of the Global Prevention Initiative. Vitabiotics has demonstrated a passionate and long standing commitment to NTD prevention, preconception health and nutrition. Without their support the vital work of the GPI would not be possible.


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