Birth defects – the problem

Birth defects (also known as congenital disorders) are a wide range of illnesses and abnormalities that cause a third of all childhood deaths around the world. 95% of cases occur in low and middle income countries where services for diagnosis, treatment and care are poor or non-existent. Where babies do survive their early years, families face incredible challenges and the effects on already fragile household incomes can be catastrophic. Birth defects seriously affect the life chances of children and their families.

It need not be like this

Up to 70% of birth defects are preventable or treatable, often with simple interventions - so why aren’t we making much progress? One reason is that the size of the problem is under-reported and therefore receives less attention. Another big challenge is that countries lack the wherewithal to determine what’s needed, what’s possible and how to secure services that are right for them.

Use the HNA toolkit Use o HNA toolkit (em português)

What we can do

  1. The Born Healthy programme is providing low and middle income countries and their health partners with a set of practical tools to make good, evidence-based decisions on health priorities and build the services that will reduce the burden of birth defects in their populations
  2. Birth defects must be placed higher on the global health agenda. To do this we need a network of supporters to help us raise awareness of the problem internationally and to encourage uptake of the toolkit
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Use the toolkit

To help us to support you better, please register your name and email address and we'll keep you up to date as the Born Healthy programme develops.

Registering also gives access to the Born Healthy network where, as the network grows, you will be able to connect with toolkit experts and supporters. If you do not want to appear on the network list, please tick the box.

The Born Healthy call

We want countries to act now to tackle birth defects and give children the healthiest possible start.