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0201 - Risk factors and epidemiology of neural tube defects in Morocco


  • Aguenaou, Hassan 
  • Barkat, Amina 
  • Benkirane, Hasnae
  • Mrabet, Mustapha 
  • Radouani, Mohammed Amine 
  • Taboz, Younes 


Neural tube defects has a considerable importance because they can be prevented by supplementing Folic acid & Vitamin B12 during periconceptional period and fortification of staple foods. In Morocco, the Ministry of Health launched a national program for fortification of flour with folic acid.The aim of study isto evaluate the prevalence of neural tube defects after fortification.


This is a retrospective descriptive study at the National Reference Centre for Nutrition and Neonatology of the Children’s Hospital of Rabat over 4 years. Data were identified from the registry of congenital malformations held at the perinatology unit.


During the 4 years, 674 congenital malformations were identified. The neural tube defects account for 11.9%. Their annual prevalence decreased significantly from 21.78 in 2008 to 12.1 per 10,000 total births in 2011after fortification (p<0,05).The most common form was anencephaly (60%). Neural tube defects were isolated in 85% of cases and associated with other malformations in 15% of cases. 49.4% of infants with neural tube defects were female and 50.6% were male. Perinatal mortality in newborns with neural tube defects was 63.8% versus 25.2% in malformed newborns without neural tube defects.


The neural tube defects seem to be common after supplementing Folic acid & Vitamin B12 during periconceptional period in Morocco. Permanent epidemiological surveillance is needed to determine the true prevalence and risk factors in our context.

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