The Born Healthy programme was established by the PHG Foundation as a response to the urgent need to reduce the burden of birth defects in developing countries.
As initiatives to tackle diseases like malaria and HIV AIDS show positive results, birth defects become the leading cause of childhood death in low and middle income countries. Every year, around six million babies are born with birth defects, and at least three million children die. Many more face a lifetime of disability, poverty and stigma.
In 2010 the World Health Organisation urged its Member States to act to redress “the limited focus to date on preventing and managing birth defects, especially in low- and middle-income countries”. They highlighted that many services and interventions for prevention, treatment and care are already within the reach of these nations and others are possible given the necessary resources, but there is a lack of political commitment, technical guidance and managerial action.
At the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in the same year, the PHG Foundation made a formal pledge:
"We commit to helping low and middle income countries to tackle birth defects by building better healthcare services for their populations"
The Health Needs Assessment Toolkit for Congenital Disorders is a comprehensive toolkit which helps countries to assess and prioritise their health needs and produce strategies to address them which reflect their local circumstances.
The Toolkit supports users in building an evidence-based case and guides them through the processes of engagement with decision makers in policy and service planning to achieve ownership of the problem, develop solutions and secure commitment to action.
We want countries to act now to tackle birth defects and give children the healthiest possible start