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Ukrainian-American Birth Defects Program

International Meeting "Folic Acid Flour Fortification"

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Dr. N. Shtuchenko,
UABDP liaison

The international meeting "Folic Acid Flour Fortification" was conducted in Kyiv on February 27, 2002. 35 participants attended the meeting. Among them were international experts Dr. W. Wertelecki (Chairman of the Department of Medical Genetics of the University of South Alabama, Director of the Ukrainian-American Birth Defects Program), Dr. G. Oakley (former Director of the Birth Defects-CDC programs and professor of the  Department of Epidemiology of the Rollins School of Public Health of Emory University), Dr. P. Ranum (Ceres Nutrition consultant in Micronutrient Fortification of Cereal Grain Foods), Dr. Yu. Kundiyev (Vice-President of the Ukrainian Academy of Medical Sciencies). Representatives of the Ukrainian Academy of Medical Sciences, Ministry of Health of Ukraine, regional health care administration officials, heads and representatives of Ukrainian flour producers were also invited to participate in the meeting.


Opening Remarks : (from Left to Right) Drs. Olena Radziyevska (USAID) , Yuriy Kundiyev and  Wladimir Wertelecki 

Dr. Y. Kundiyev opened the meeting. He described the achievements of the Ukrainian-American Birth Defects Program (UABDP) and Ukrainian Alliance for the Prevention of Birth Defects since last conference.

Overview : (from Left to Right) Drs. Olena Radziyevska (USAID) , Yuriy Kundiyev  , Wladimir Wertelecki, Iryna Kharytonova, Yevheniya Larionchyk and  Godfrey Oakley.

Dr. W. Wertelecki told about birth defect monitoring conducted in the pilot oblasts. He stressed that the data received were population-based data. Those data indicate to high level of birth defects in the pilot oblasts.

Dr. G. Oakley in his presentation "The Miracle of Folic Acid Fortification" described the mechanism of NTD formation. He cited the randomized controlled study carried out in Great Britain among a group of women who had already NTD-affected pregnancies. The study proved that folic acid significantly reduced number of NTDs.

Dr. P. Ranum made a presentation "Turning Flour Mills into Birth Defects Prevention Factories". He described technology of flour folic acid fortification and told about fortification programs in different countries.

After the presentations all the four speakers answered questions concerning the world experience of food folic acid fortification, mechanisms of folic acid biological influence, and technological aspects of flour fortification.

Dr. R. Moiseenko (Ministry of Health of Ukraine) informed the audience of the All-Ukrainian Program "Child Health". She said that the Program includes birth defects prevention aspects, particularly Folic Acid Supplementation Program. Dr. Moiseenko stressed that Dr. G. Oakley and Dr. P. Ranum presented convincing data about Folic Acid role in birth defects prevention.

 Ministry and Oblast health leaders: (from Left to Right) Drs. Tamara Irkina, Raisa Moiseyenko, Mykhailo Hnasyuk and  Mariya Dumanovska..  

Dr. Yu. Kundiyev focused audience attention on the fact that 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned. In those cases folic acid flour fortification is more effective than supplementation. He said that there are enough data to implement pilot fortification project in Ukraine.

Dr. I. Baryliak (President of the Ukrainian Alliance for the Prevention of Birth Defects) dwelled on genetic aspects of the fortification programs. He stated that geneticists all over the world hold the opinion that Folic Acid fortification decreases birth defect cases.

Mrs. O. Yuryshynets (mother of a child with NTD) told her history and thanked the Program and the Alliance for their support to the families with affected children.

Mr. M. Hnasiuk (Director of the Lutsk Mill # 2) reported that the mill is ready for pilot fortification project implementation.

Dr. M. Dumanovska (Rivne Health care official) described the educative campaign devoted to birth defect prevention in Rivne oblast. She cited distribution of Folic Acid through Matrimonial House.

The representatives of the Ukrainian mills and bread industry (Mr. M. Companets, Mr. V. Morozov, and Mr. V. Yanitski) discussed the technological aspects of Folic Acid fortification. However they emphasized that the fortification project should be approved by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and appropriate hygienic regulations should be developed.

 An overview of the grain and milling industry : Mr. Mykola Kompanets speaking.  

After the discussion was over Dr. Kundiyev made concluding remarks and closed the Meeting. Preliminary recommendations for Folic Acid flour fortification in Ukraine were prepared and disseminated among the meeting participants.

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Sponsor: I.B.I.S. | Site Concept: W. W., S. L. | Page Content: N. Shtuchenko, M. D.
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17/May/2002 dc