The Spina Bifida Foundation of India & the International Federation of SB, has organized the three-day long 28th Annual International Conference on Preventive, Antenatal and Management aspects of Birth Defects. The Conference was organized in Asia for the 1st time.

The famous Bollywood Actress Raveena Tandon was the Chief Guest of the Inaugural Ceremony. At the Inauguration, Dr. Santosh Karmarkar, Founder Trustee, Spina Bifida Foundation, Dr. Margo Whiteford, President International Federation of Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus; Dr. Ajay Khera, Deputy Commissioner for the Child Health Program at the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, Rohit Shelatkar, Director/ Vice President – Vitabiotics Ltd; Founder – Go Folic Campaign were also present alongwith Global Experts from Harvard, CDC (Atlanta), WHO, IFSBH from several other countries and India.

The three-day International Conference is in association with World Health Organization (WHO) & in collaboration with Meyer Vitabiotics.

Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus are the Birth defects result in 40,000 children born with childhood paralysis in India each year. A majority of these cases are preventable. So to spread public awareness, Global Experts from Harvard, CDC (Atlanta), WHO, IFSBH, several other countries and India will discuss various issue related to the Epidemiology, Prevention, Management and Rehabilitation of Birth Defects focusing on Spina Bifida.

Speaking at the Inaugural Ceremony,Dr. Santosh Karmarkar, Founder Trustee, Spina Bifida Foundation, said, “Prevention of Neural tube defects should be an urgent Public health priority for India, which has one of the highest incidences of this birth defect in the world. The Central and State Governments need to take this up on a war footing and like the polio campaign initiate a campaign for awareness regarding prevention of Spina bifida. This has the potential to prevent more than 25000 children born with childhood paralysis in India every year. The foundation also works equally for the rehabilitation of those who are already born with this devastating birth defect”

Bollywood Actress, Raveena Tandon said “I am very concerned at the alarming rate of the birth defect incidences in India. It’s unfortunately the highest number in the World. Lack of information is one of the biggest reasons for this defect among the children. Even having simple, easy and economical solution, children are still dealing with lifelong disabilities. Spreading information and making people aware is the key aspects to fight against this problem.

In support of the 2018 Spina Bifida Conference, Rohit Shelatkar, Vice President of Vitabiotics, UK said, “Unfortunately birth defects are a common problem faced worldwide, with an estimated 8 million children being born with a serious birth defect every year across the globe. Birth defects are a common cause for death in the first year and for those that survive the mental or physical disability can become costly for those involved.”

Mr. Shelatkar, further added, “The key and most important message in regards to this conference is that birth defects such as Spina Bifida are 100% preventable. Prevention is simple, easy and also much cheaper than dealing with lifelong disabilities. Taking vitamins as simple as folic acid and B12 during pregnancy have been proven to help prevent neural tube defects, hence raising awareness and educating people on this topic is key, whether that is via doctors’ educationor conferences such as this. Also Media support and government support is important to bring about any major change in the current situation.”

About The Spina Bifida Foundation of India:
The Spina Bifida Foundation (SBF) – a not-for-profit organisation formed by Medical Professionals and parents of Spina Bifida Children who have been involved in the care and upbringing of Spina Bifida patients in India for more than a decade.

Since 1997, we – a group of doctors, parents and well wishers have been consistently working for the cause of improving the lives of Spina Bifida (SB) patients and for preventing SB.

The seeds of SBF were sown almost 15 years ago by Dr. santoshkarmarkar& his colleagues from Wadia Children’s hospital when they encounterd children with spina bifida and formed an informal support group to help such kids and their families. The group slowly expanded with more families and doctors supporting the cause.

In 2006 the first Indian Spina Bifida Conference of Parents, Well-wishers and Doctors was held in Mumbai. This was attended by leading Spina Bifida experts and Epidemiologists and Health officials from all over the world.

About The International Federation of SB:
The International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (IF) 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.

The majority of IF member organisations are led and governed by adults with SBH or parents of children with SBH. Children are active participants in our members’ activities: they are involved in child-led activities, training workshops on independence and holiday camps.

Nowadays, many young people with SBH have taken over the leadership of their organisations. In most cases, IF members choose close cooperation with medical and education professionals and researchers, given the importance of these professions to children and adults with SBH for their survival and development.

About Meyer Vitabiotics.
MEYER Organics Pvt. Ltd is one of the leading pharmaceutical manufacturers in India, founded in 1982. Meyer has manufactured innovative health care products for over three decades; Meyer is committed to excel in human health care and research.
The company is headquartered in Mumbai, India with global presence in more than 30 countries.

Meyer has created a unique portfolio of products in the key segments like Anti-infective, Nutrition Supplements for all age groups, Infertility Supplement, Pain Management, etc.

As part of Corporate Social Responsibility initiative Meyer Organics has undertaken the GO FOLIC campaign in collaboration with Spina Bifida Foundation intending to make a positive difference in society. In India there is lack of awareness on Spina bifida & hence Meyer has taken the initiative to bring about awareness of this grave condition for the FIRST TIME IN INDIA.

As a nutraceutical company we believe it’s our responsibility to make healthcare simpler. Innovation is the key to Meyer’s success. This means keeping the leading edge of international research on the one hand, while remaining sensitive to specific consumer needs on the other. GO FOLIC, an initiative by Shine, a registered charity, is an on-going campaign in the UK supported by Vitabiotics’ Pregnacare, UK’s No.1 Pregnancy supplement brand.

GO FOLIC aims to spread the vital message about taking Folic acid as well as Vitamin B12 before pregnancy to prevent birth defects. Meyer, in collaboration with Spina bifida Foundation is initiating GO FOLIC in India to promote the importance of peri-conceptional intake of Folic acid containing supplements for prevention of birth defects.

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