Health groups call for accelerated spina bifida and hydrocephalus prevention and care worldwide

In observance of World Birth Defects Day which took place on March 3rd, an international group of organisations working together on spina bifida and hydrocephalus called on the public and policy makers to take action to prevent these serious birth defects.

The PUSH! Global Alliance (People United for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus), launched its website and Global Report Cards providing country-level information on hydrocephalus and spina bifida prevention efforts, access to care, quality of life, and availability of prevalence and mortality data.

See the information online at

PUSH! also called on governments around the world to fortify food items with the B vitamin folic acid, which can reduce the incidence of spina bifida and other serious birth defects of the brain and spine known as neural tube defects (NTDs). Foods that are typically fortified with micronutrients include breads, ready-to-eat cereals, cereal snack bars/biscuits/bakes, energy drinks, fruits juices, milk/ milk substitutes, dairy/fat spreads and yogurt/yogurt drinks.

Each year, an estimated 300,000 babies are born with NTDs, PUSH! says. Health experts in the United States and other countries also recommend that all women of childbearing age take a daily multivitamin containing at least 400 micrograms of folic acid to prevent NTDs.

About PUSH!

PUSH! is the global voice for organizations worldwide working to better the lives of people living with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. The goals are to advance surveillance and prevention efforts, to improve quality of care, and to eliminate disparities in access to care, through research, communications and capacity building.

About the International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus

The International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus was founded by people with spina bifida and hydrocephalus (SBH) and their families in 1979. Over the years, it has grown from a voluntary association into a professional disabled people’s organisation (DPO) with global coverage, democratic structure and transparent and accountable processes. IF’s fast-growing membership now includes 57 member organisations in Africa, Australia, the Americas, Asia and Europe. IF is a provisional member of the European Patients’ Forum.

More information

For more information, please contact:

Lieven Bauwens, IF Secretary General,

Marta Anguera, IF Communication