Birth defects surveillance
A manual for programme managers
A wide range of causes of congenital anomalies means that a portfolio of prevention approaches is needed including prevention of sexually transmitted infections, legislation controlling management of toxic chemicals (e.g. certain agricultural chemicals), vaccination against rubella, and fortification of staple foods with folic acid, iodine and other micronutrients.
The establishment of appropriate surveillance systems for congenital anomalies is one of the basic components of a national programme for the prevention and care of congenital anomalies.
This manual is a collaborative effort between the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Surveillance and Research (ICBDSR). It is intended to serve as a tool for the development, implementation and ongoing improvement of a congenital anomalies surveillance programme, particularly for countries with limited resources. The focus of the manual is on population-based and hospital-based surveillance programmes.
Any country wishing to expand its current hospital-based programme into a population-based programme, or to begin the initial development of a population-based registry, should find this manual helpful in reaching its goal.