Twenty one participants representing thirteen organizations attended the event. The represented agencies include the Department of Health (DOH), National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) - Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) - DOST, Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) - DOST, Integrated Midwives Association of the Philippines (IMAP), Philippine Obstetrics and Gynecological Society (POGS), Philippine Association of Speech Pathologists, Operation Smile Philippines, Philippine Band of Mercy, A.N.A.K. Foundation (Aruga ng Nanay sa Anak na may Kapansanan), UP Manila University Student Council (UP Manila USC), UP Manila Health Sciences and Pre-Med Society (UPM HS+PM), and BIGKIS-UP Manila.
UP Manila Chancellor Dr. Carmencita Padilla and IHG Director Dr. Mary Ann Chiong opened the meeting by giving an inspirational talk and the welcome message, respectively. Since one of the objectives of the meeting is to introduce birth defects and the WolrdBDday campaign among potential partners, lectures on birth defects and preventive strategies, local birth defects surveillance initiatives, and the importance of preconception care were given by IHG WorldBDday Committee Head Dr. April Berboso, NSRC Director Dr. Maria Melanie Liberty Alcausin and Ms. Aster Lyn Sur, RN. Meanwhile, the significance and mechanics of World Birth Defects Day Social Media and Online Campaign was presented by VYLH-Philippines NCR-South Luzon Coordinator Mr. Rufus Adducul.
After the presentations, each of the represented agencies was called for activity pledges, as well as asked for their comments and suggestions on the event. Dr. Jaime Montoya representing PCHRD and NAST (Health Sciences Division) recommended the formulation of a national theme in the vernacular in order to attract the attention of the public. On the other hand, representatives from government agencies also called for earlier preparations for the next World Birth Defects Day in order for the event to be considered in their budget preparations.
About WorldBDDay. Held every 3rd day of March, WorldBDday is a global campaign to raise awareness on birth defects and expand birth defects surveillance, prevention, care, and research worldwide. The event was launched on March 3, 2015 by a consortium of twelve international organizations which include the March of Dimes, the International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Surveillance and Research (ICBDSR) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC). This is in response to the 2010 World Health Assembly resolution urging member states to, among other steps, raise awareness and develop programs for the prevention and care of birth defects.
The observance of World Birth Defects Day is grounded on five goals namely to increase global awareness about the occurrence of birth defects; increase awareness of available treatment services; expand referral and care services for all persons with birth defects; increase implementation of programs to prevent birth defects; and encourage the public, governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, and healthcare providers to improve the care of affected children.
Call for Partners. The WorldBDDay-Philippines Secretariat calls for organizations and agencies interested to join and contribute to the Philippines' first formal observance of World Birth Defects Day. Last year, the Philippines' participation was initiated by VYLH-Philippines as it joined and promoted the World Birth Defects Day Thunderclap. This act helped in placing the Philippines among the 34 identified countries of the social media campaign’s supporters. This year, the ICBDSR coordinated with Dr. Padilla and suggested the inclusion of representative agencies to the global partners of WorldBDDay.
Interested parties may contact the WorldBDDay-Philippines Secretariat through the Institute of Human Genetics (Tel. 526-1725/525-7459/307-0780/Fax 526-9997/email email@example.com) and the WorldBDday Philippines Facebook Page (fb.com/worldbddayph).# (RPascual)