Tracking the prevention of folic acid-preventable spina bifida and anencephaly.Birth Defects Res A Clin Mol Teratol. 2006 Sep; 76(9):654-7.BD
The fortification of wheat flour with folic acid prevents most cases of spina bifida and anencephaly by raising serum folate levels among women capable of bearing children, as does encouraging women to consume folic acid supplements prior to pregnancy. Unfortunately, surveillance is conducted in few countries where the need is greatest.
A method for assessing the prevention of these birth defects is presented that combines fortification program information with country case prevalence estimates.
This approach suggests that about 70% of all cases could be prevented within a year of implementation of fortification programs, were it not for the inertia of regulatory agencies.
Professional researchers and clinicians can help combat this situation by becoming advocates for child health in their respective countries.