Folic Acid Fortification of Salts Can Reduce Disability of the Newborn

Press Club, Kolkata, in collaboration with The Indian Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery the Spina Bifida Foundation, West Bengal and GAPSF organized a Press Conference on 1 March at Press Club, Kolkata to create awareness on the need of folic acid supplements. Dr. Sandip Chatterjee, noted Neurosurgeon and Dr. Subhasish Saha, Pediatric Surgeon were the speakers of the conference.

The following information were shared as background to the problem:

Folic Acid supplements must be given to all women of child bearing age because in the foetus the spinal cord is developed even before the pregnancy test is positive, So women of child bearing age need to have a high Folic Acid level in blood to stop the horrendous disability in the newborn called spina bifida.

The incidence of this dreadful condition, spina bifida, varies between 4 and 10 per 1000 live births in this country.

The Govt. of India provides folic acid in a dose of 500 micrograms in the Anemia Mukt Bharat (AMB) Programme. The Iron and Folic Acid supplementation is given to pregnant women and lactation mothers. (60 mg of elementary Iron and 500 microgram of Folic Acid).

The speakers placed request to government to implement a policy for folic acid fortification of common salts to provide minimum dose required to avoid spina bifida and other disability conditions.

They also requested The Govt of West Bengal to increase the dose of folic acid in fortified rice what they distribute to the people.

“Incidentally 8 out of 20 G20 countries already have folate fortification programs. We demand India to do the same”, Said Dr. Sandip Chatterjee.


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