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Ukrainian-American Birth Defects Program

"Aspects of Epidemiology of Mother and Child Health Care with Emphasis on Spina Bifida and Related Birth Defects" Course by Prof. L. Sever

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July 5, 2005

Nataliya Zymak-Zakutnya,
Khmelnytsky OMNI-Center Coordinator

During April 10 - May 13, 2005 with the assistance of the Ukrainian American Birth Defects Program, a series of courses on epidemiology and prevention of spina bifida and other neural tube defects were delivered by Prof. Lowell E. Sever, Ph. D. (professor of epidemiology of the University of Texas, Houston School of Public Health, and 2005 Fulbright Scholar in Ukraine).

The main tasks of the each course were:
  • Engage medical professionals and teachers of medical universities of Ukraine toward the sphere of epidemiology and prevention of birth defects.
  • Attract attention of health care administrators and physicians to the epidemiological situation related to neural tube defects (NTD) in Ukraine, the necessity of birth defects monitoring and epidemiological data analysis. (In Ukraine there is an epidemic of NTD. Folic acid flour fortification can prevent at least 500 infant's deaths due to NTD's.)
Prof. L. Sever (left) and the course organizer at the Crimea State Medical University N. Afanasiyeva
Prof. L. Sever (left) and the course organizer
at the Crimea State Medical University N. Afanasiyeva

The lecture course was divided into two parts. The first part on basics of epidemiology with special emphasis on spina bifida intended for the teachers, students and young researchers of Crimea State Medical University named after S. Heorhievsky, Donetsk State Medical University named after M. Horky and Lviv National Medical University named after D. Halytsky.

The second part were 1-day seminars with special emphasis on NTD held for physicians, public health officials and health care administrators (Simferopol (Crimea) - April 16, Rivne - May 12, Khmelnytsky - May 13).

One day seminar in Khmelnytsky Delivery Hospital
One day seminar in Khmelnytsky
Delivery Hospital

During the lecture courses Prof. Sever in a wonderful academic manner successively introduced the approaches to studying NTD's. The lectures included not only the ascertaining principles and approaches to calculation of rates but also a considerable part of the course was dedicated to the measures of NTD prevention and the importance of surveillance in evaluating the effectiveness of prevention interventions.

A wide range of specialists participated in the lecture course, among which were: chief oblast obstetricians and gynecologists, chief pediatricians of rayons, neonatologists, geneticists, medical statisticians, prenatal ultrasound examination specialists, teachers of medical colleges, heads of the oblast family planning centers, students of post-diploma education departments, family doctors, therapists, and representatives of mass media.

Active discussions of NTD problems during breaks
Active discussions of NTD problems during breaks
A picture with participants of the lecture course in Rivne
A picture with participants of the lecture course in Rivne

Reviewed by: Lyubov Yevtushok

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8/August/2005 sl