Global birth defects : WHO, CDC, ICBDSR, and March of Dimes to work on toolkit

Birth defects or congenital anomalies are an invisible tragedy round the world. per annum an estimated 295,000 newborns die thanks to congenital anomalies during the primary 28 days of life. the foremost common, severe congenital anomalies are heart defects, ectoderm defects and Down’s syndrome.

Congenital anomalies can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and for those that survive, lifelong physical and psychological difficulties. the shortage of medical, surgical and support services to worry for youngsters affected, especially in low-resource settings, can take a toll on families and youngsters .

In an attempt to create up better prevention and care services to decrease the amount of congenital anomalies worldwide and to raised look after those that are born with birth defects, WHO, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Surveillance and Research (ICBDSR), and therefore the March of Dimes launched a replacement toolkit – Birth defects surveillance: a manual for programme managers and Birth defects surveillance: quick reference handbook of selected congenital anomalies.

“Many birth defects go unreported worldwide, and surveillance systems, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, are weak or don’t exist,” says Dr Anshu Banerjee, Director, WHO Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health and Ageing. “By investing in birth defects surveillance to gather better quality data, countries can adequately provide the high-quality services for prevention, care and support these children and families need.”

With the growing recognition of the impact of birth defects thanks to infectious diseases like Zika virus, nutrition deficiencies and other conditions in pregnancy, the updated manual is meant to function a tool for the event , implementation and ongoing improvement of national congenital anomalies surveillance programmes. The manual is additionally amid a newly created quick reference handbook for front-line health care professionals who are diagnosing and collecting data on congenital infections and birth defects. It includes illustrations and photos of various birth defects, also as summaries of the guidance for diagnosis and data collection.

Through the event of a population-based surveillance programmes that accurately capture congenital anomalies, countries can better understand the burden of those conditions, become more conscious of the risks involved, refer identified infants to services during a timely manner, and use prevalence estimates to guage and strengthen any current prevention or clinical management programmes.

Countries also can use the knowledge gathered to tell stakeholders and policy-makers about the importance of investing in programmes aimed toward reducing the occurrence of congenital anomalies, and to assist them plan for appropriate services.

Congenital anomalies are largely preventable through improved nutrition in women of reproductive age, prenatal counselling and vitamin Bc supplementation, adequate antenatal care, including vaccination, and screening, prevention and treatment for infectious diseases during pregnancy, like syphilis and rubella.

In 2010, Member States adopted a resolution to market primary prevention and improve the health of youngsters with congenital anomalies through developing and strengthening registration and surveillance systems, developing expertise and building capacity, and strengthening research and studies on etiology, diagnosis and prevention.

“Today, WHO is committed as ever to increasing awareness, reducing stigma and expanding access to services for prevention and care of birth defects as a part of every country’s journey towards universal health coverage,” says Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Deputy Director-General.

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