During December 7, 2017 a meeting took place of Drs. Uliana Suprun, Acting Minister of Health, Verkhovna Rada Deputy Oleg Bereziuk, representing the “Samopomich” party, and Prof. Wladimir Wertelecki, Director of the OMNI-Net Children Developmental and Birth Defects Prevention Programs.
The purpose was to discuss the adoption of a law mandating obligatory fortification of flour with folic acid (vitamin B9) with the aim to control an epidemic of high rates of Neural Tube Defects (NTD) in Ukraine (spina bifida and other anomalies). The NTD rates in Ukraine are the highest in Europe. Prof. W. Wertelecki presented the results of the NTD surveillance conducted in the Volyn, Rivne and Khmelnytsky Provinces with assistance of the OMNI-Net, and stressed that it is actually an epidemic of spina bifida (in Ukraine, about 1,000 children annually die from it or become disabled). The most effective means of prevention is mandatory folic acid (vitamin B9) flour fortification. Dr. O. Bereziuk is a proponent of this legislative initiative on behalf of the “Samopomich” Political Party. Dr. U. Suprun indicated her support and willingness to add her efforts for the success of this initiative.