Filling Data Gaps on Birth Defects

Worldwide, birth defects are the second leading cause of neonatal and child mortality—they are responsible for 1 in 10 under-5 deaths in Latin America.

Registries for these anomalies are key to understanding their burden, their specific characteristics, and how to respond to them, and that trove of data is expanding under new surveillance networks.

12 countries, including Brazil, Cuba and Mexico, already monitor birth defects.

Programs like Costa Rica’s Congenital Malformations Registry Center offer insight into the efficacy of interventions like fortifying products with folic acid and other nutrients.

But for countries without such systems, a PAHO program offers technical assistance to fill surveillance gaps.


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