GUWAHATI, April 10 - The North East Chapter of the Spina Bifida Foundation (SBF) of India is going to host the national conference of the Foundation here on November 22-23 to generate greater awareness about this common birth defect.
This was informed by Dr HK Dutta, Professor of Pediatric Surgery, Assam Medical College and Hospital (AMCH), Dibrugarh, who has been leading the activities of this Foundation in this region, in a press release issued here.
The SBF is a non-profit organisation formed by medical professionals and parents of children born with this defect. Since 1997 it has been consistently working towards improving the lives of spina bifida patients and spreading awareness about the ways to prevent it.
Spina bifida is a birth defect of the spinal cord causing multiple disabilities in children. In India, four out of every 1,000 babies are born with this defect, amounting to more than 25,000 such live births in India every year. Most of these children continue to live with childhood paralysis, brain defects like hydrocephalus, urinary incontinence and orthopedic problems, a situation much devastating than polio. They require multiple surgical procedures and rehabilitation therapy. However, many of these defects are preventable with mere administration of folic acid and vitamin B12 during the peri-conceptional period.
Dr Santosh Karmarkar, a leading pediatric surgeon of Mumbai who is also heading the Foundation, had a preliminary discussion with the pediatric surgeons of the State about this problem at a meeting held at a city-based hotel recently. During the discussion, the North East Chapter of Spina Bifida Foundation was formally launched.
At the meeting, the current issue of International Journal of Health Research and Medico Legal Practice was also released by the Academy of Health Research and Medical Education.