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    Reducing the global toll of birth defects [letter]

    Howse JL; Howson CP; Katz M

    Lancet. 2005 May 28; 365(9474):1846-1847.

    The World Health Report 2005—Make Every Mother and Child Count is to be commended for including neonates as a focus of maternal and child health. This perspective is consistent with The Lancet’s neonatal survival series and is strongly supported by the March of Dimes. Unfortunately, the report overlooks birth defects as a major global cause of infant death and disability. In doing so, it has missed the opportunity to highlight care and prevention of birth defects, which should be an integral part of the maternal, newborn, and child health programmes of any country. Every year, 7.8 million children are born with a serious genetic birth defect. Hundreds of thousands more are born with serious birth defects due to teratogens, including fetal alcohol syndrome, maternal iodine deficiency syndrome, congenital syphilis, and congenital rubella syndrome. (excerpt)
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