October 25 is the World Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day. In 2011, the International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus’ General Assembly designated 25 October as the World Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day (WSBHD). IF and its member organizations will use this day to raise awareness and understanding about Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus and the ways in which neural tube defects (NTDs) can be prevented. It is also a way to advocate and promote the rights of persons with these impairments. As from 2012 the World Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day is celebrated every year.
Why a World Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus day?
Thanks to the continuous advances in medicine, healthcare services have been drastically improved for people with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. But despite this, many children and adults living with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus still don’t have access to the right treatment and care services, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality in many countries. Furthermore, some people are not aware about important facts regarding Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus and ways to prevent NTDs. The WSBHD is very significant as it reminds the public and policy makers that Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus are a reality and that it is imperative to increase awareness about them and improve the lives of people living with these conditions.
- There are at least around 1.5 million people globally living with neural tube defects.
- Spina bifida is one of the most common birth defects, with an average worldwide incidence of 1–2 cases per 1000 births, but certain populations have a significantly greater incidence.
- Spina bifida is a birth defect, which affects the development of a baby’s spine during the first 28 days of a pregnancy. Timely and adequate use of folic acid supplements can reduce the risk.
- Hydrocephalus may be congenital or acquired. Hydrocephalus may result from inherited genetic abnormalities or developmental disorders such as those associated with NTDs including spina bifida.
- Folate deficiency is causing approximately 200,000 severe birth defects every year.