GO FOLIC, a joint National initiative of the Spina Bifida Foundation (SBF) and Meyer Vitabiotics, is aimed at Prevention of Birth defects – mainly Neural tube defects (NTDs) in India.
Congenital birth defects of which NTDs form a major share, are assuming greater importance as a leading cause of Neonatal and Infant Mortality in India. Prevention of NTDs and other birth defects is on the top of the stated WHO goals for South East Asia.
Mr. Rohit Shelatkar (Vice President & Director, Vitabiotics Ltd. UK), Actor Raveena Tandon, Dr. Santosh Karmarkar (Leading Pediatric Surgeon, Founder Trustee, SBF), Dr. Kiran Coelho (Leading Gynecologist & Obstetrician, Mumbai), Dr. Nandita Palshetkar, (Leading Infertility & IVF Specialist, Mumbai).
NTDs, which are congenital malformations of the Spinal cord & Spine, cause varying degrees of Childhood paralysis (more severe than Polio) and also affect the development of the lower limbs, brain, urinary bladder and bowel. India has one of the highest incidences of NTDs in the world – up to 4-5 /1000 live births!! This would amount to as many as 25000 – 40000 children born with this defect in India each year.
Thus prevention of NTDs is an immediate Public Health priority for India. And GO FOLIC directly addresses this issue.
70% of NTDs are due to folate deficiency and therefore ensuring an adequate daily intake of Folic Acid and B12 vitamins in the diets of mothers-to-be, prior to conception and during pregnancy can prevent most cases of NTDs.
Unfortunately, the awareness about this is still almost non-existent in India – both in urban and rural India. The GO FOLIC campaign which is the first initiative of its kind in India will help spread this much needed awareness by undertaking activities and campaigns in both cities and villages across the length and breadth of India.
GO FOLIC will liaise with State Governments, the Union Health Ministry and WHO India and will undertake a series of activities throughout the next few years.
Well known Bollywood Actress Raveena Tandon has been associated with Spina Bifida Prevention and will continue to be an Ambassador for GO FOLIC.
Other eminent personalities and citizens are also joining us in this effort.