44,000+ pregnancies are impacted by life-threatening neural tube defects (NTDs), spina bifida (“open back”) and hydrocephalus (“water on the brain”), each year in Ethiopia. Since 2009, ReachAnother Foundation has provided life-saving surgery for more than 7,500 babies with spina bifida and hydrocephalus in Ethiopia. ReachAnother’s mission is to help Ethiopian partners build the medical self-sufficiency and prevention awareness that the country needs to save the lives of children affected by spina bifida and hydrocephalus.
ReachAnother Foundation expands medical capacity through a three-pronged approach: Prevention, Treatment, and Aftercare.
- Prevention – 70% of NTD cases can be prevented through sufficient folic acid (or folate) in the mother’s diet. ReachAnother works to educate families about the importance of folic acid supplementation and advocates for primary, high-impact prevention through a nationally adopted salt fortification with folic acid program.
- Treatment – ReachAnother has facilitated over 7,500 surgeries for babies born with NTDs, established a network of multi-disciplinary care at six Centers of Excellence (CoE) in Pediatric Neurosurgery programs located across Ethiopia, and supported the training of 40 neurosurgeons to meet neurosurgical needs.
- Aftercare – Care after surgery is critical to the future of SBH babies. Many face life threatening bladder or kidney problems or mobility challenges that require physical therapy. To bridge the gap in care, each CoE partner hospital is training SBH teams that provide coordinated, cost-effective, multi-specialty services to NTD patients and their families. These teams are raising aftercare standards to prevent future health problems for children impacted by NTDs.