WE, YOU AND EVERYONE
REDUCTION OF INFANT MORTALITY
FOLIC ACID FLOUR FORTIFICATION
NEURAL TUBE DEFECTS – SPINA BIFIDA PREVENTION
WE, YOU and ALL Ukrainians can reduce child mortality. Ukraine is no different from other European countries in terms of risk factors associated with prematurity, low birth weight, young or older mother age. Ukraine differs from other European countries by the high frequency of neural tube defects (spina bifida).
Neonatal mortality of children with birth defects in Ukraine is also not very different from other European countries. But after the first month of life, the mortality rate of such children increases rapidly, and that distinguishes Ukraine from other European countries. Repeated and detailed analyses of birth defects population data collected in Europe by EUROCAT programs with the support of the European Commission, in particular in the framework of the EUROlinkCAT project, and data collected in Ukraine by the OMNI-Net program confirm this fact. The OMNI-Net is a full member of EUROCAT – the European Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies. These facts suggest that mortality after the neonatal period is most likely related to the quality of the health care system of such children, which means that many risk factors can be eliminated or significantly reduced.
Therefore, WE, YOU and EVERYONE have not just the opportunity but also the obligation to be aware and actively make our own efforts to identify and eliminate preventable mortality factors.
Regarding neural tube defects, their frequency in Volyn, Rivne and Khmelnytsky provinces is so high that it could be called an epidemic. An even higher frequency is observed in Rivne Polissya. Ukraine produces and exports flour enriched (fortified) with folic acid. But Ukrainians do not have access to such flour. The bill on flour fortification was submitted to the Verkhovna Rada a few years ago, but, unfortunately, has not yet been considered. Spina bifida-related mortality can be reduced by 50%, as has been done in more than 50 countries.
YOU and EVERYONE can add own efforts, develop initiatives and intervention strategies to reduce infant mortality related to birth defects at least to the level of the European Union. And we, the OMNI-Net members will continue our efforts in this field.
On behalf of members of the OMNI-Net for Children,
L. Yevtushok, MD.,