According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Every year, approximately 3%–6% of infants worldwide are born with a serious birth defect. Birth defects can affect an infant regardless of birthplace, race, or ethnicity. In many countries, birth defects are among the leading causes of death for infants and young children. Those who survive and live with these conditions are at an increased risk for lifelong disabilities.”
The International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (IFSBH) describes birth defects as costly, common, and a critical health challenge. They occur for 1 in every 33 infants (2015 figures) effecting 8 million children world-wide, as well as their families and communities.
About World Birth Defects Day
Launched in 2015, and held annually on March 3rd, World Birth Defects Day provides a key moment for countries and organizations globally to raise awareness about the prevalence, risks and impacts, and to advocate for more prevention, care and research. This year over 70 organizations will join forces with the PUSH! (People and Organizations United for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus) Global Alliance to get the word out.
Neural tube defects (NTD) such as spina bifida and anencephaly still affect around ½ million pregnancies every year. Up to 72% of these cases could be prevented by an adequate intake of the B vitamin folic acid in the pre-conceptual period (at least 1 month before pregnancy and during the first trimester of pregnancy), or throughout the reproductive stage.
The contribution of the Micronutrient Forum
In December 2016 the Micronutrient Forum convened a group of international experts from a wide range of disciplines to produce a roadmap for global action to reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTD) world-wide.
In 2017 the group will produce a report with the intention to inform and prioritize investments in NTD risk reduction, offer guidance for implementation efforts, and identify the knowledge gaps that remain, including those specific to the safety and efficacy of folic acid interventions.
To find out more about the work of the consultation group on folate status in women and neural tube defects risk reduction, click here
About the PUSH! Global Alliance
The PUSH! Global Alliance is a global platform that includes the world’s leading private and public organisations in healthcare, research, academia, and patient advocacy. The mission of the alliance is to unite organisations as the global voice, to accelerate spina bifida and hydrocephalus prevention, and to realize optimal care and a better quality of life for those affected. PUSH! recognizes that there is strength in numbers. Strategic partnerships among these dedicated organisations can help increase visibility, foster sharing of knowledge, experiences, expertise and strategies, and help to mobilize and focus resources to yield stronger, more sustainable country-level efforts for prevention and care.
PUSH! Global Alliance Global Report Cards
Providing country-level information on spina bifida and hydrocephalus prevention measures, access to care, quality of care, and the availability of prevalence and mortality data. World Birth Defects Day marks the launch of the report cards for Europe and The Americas: http://pu-sh.org/global-report-cards
Article: Scorecard for spina bifida research, prevention and policy – A development process
The PUSH! Global Alliance is launching a new professional portal and connection site through OPEN Pediatrics, with the aim of improving the care of children worldwide: https://www.openpediatrics.org/
Video: Growing Brains: Searching for the Optimal Treatment of Infant Hydrocephalus