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Public Awareness Seminar on Prevention of Spina Bifida through Large Scale Folic Acid Fortification in Pakistan!

Almas Khattak

New member
Apr 12, 2024
Peshawar, June 13, 2024 — In a concerted effort to address the pressing issue of spina bifida in Pakistan, the Northwest School of Medicine and its affiliated hospitals held a seminar focusing on the prevention of this congenital condition through large scale folate fortification. The event brought together a distinguished panel of speakers, including renowned obstetricians, neuro-rehabilitation experts, government officials, policy makers, healthcare professionals, students, patients, civil society members and the general public, who emphasized the critical role of folic acid in preventing neural tube defects.

Prof. Sidra Jabbar Khan provided an obstetrician's overview, emphasizing the importance of folic acid supplementation for expectant mothers and its role in preventing neural tube defects. Dr. Athar Khalily, a specialist in neuro-rehabilitation, discussed the strategies for rehabilitation of spina bifida patients, highlighting the need for comprehensive care. Muzammal Islam, a spina bifida patient and Program Specialist in Law and Inclusive Education at the Association for Aid and Relief Japan, shared his personal journey, offering a powerful perspective on living with the condition. Prof. Tariq Khan, on behalf of Global Alliance for Prevention of Spina Bifida and Folate Fortification (GAPSBiF), delivered insights on global perspectives and advocacy efforts, showcasing successful international initiatives in folate fortification. Dr. Almas Fasih Khattak presented Pakistan's initiatives in combating spina bifida, underlining the ongoing efforts and future plans for folate fortification. Mr. Zareef Ul Mani, Secretary of the Food Department, elaborated on the policy and operational strategies necessary for effective food fortification. Dr. Sumera Shams, an ex Member of Provincial Assembly and a public health specialist, discussed the public health policy impact on food fortification and prevention, stressing the need for robust policy frameworks. Shandana Gulzar, Member National Assembly, discussed the policy innovations, highlighting her prospective role in advancing women's health and folic acid deficiency initiatives at the parliament level.

The seminar concluded with a strong call to action, emphasizing the necessity of public awareness, policy advocacy, and collaborative efforts to implement large scale folate fortification across Pakistan. By ensuring adequate folic acid intake among expectant mothers, Pakistan can significantly reduce the incidence of spina bifida, fostering healthier futures for its children.

About Northwest School of Medicine and Northwest General Hospital & Research Centre

Northwest School of Medicine and Northwest General Hospital & Research Centre are dedicated to advancing public health through education, research, and community engagement. As part of their corporate social responsibility, the medical school and its affiliated hospitals are committed to addressing critical health issues like spina bifida and promoting preventive measures such as large scale folate fortification in Pakistan.

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Protect the Future of Pakistan through Large Scale Folic Acid Fortification

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