Cadernos de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1678-4464
HOROVITZ, Dafne Dain Gandelman; LLERENA JR., Juan Clinton and MATTOS, Ruben Araújo de. Birth defects and health strategies in Brazil: an overview. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2005, vol.21, n.4, pp. 1055-1064. ISSN 1678-4464. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2005000400008.
Birth defects have increased progressively in Brazil, shifting from the fifth to the second cause of infant mortality from 1980 to 2000, thus highlighting the need for specific health policy strategies. Some governmental and nongovernmental actions related to birth defects in Brazil include information services on teratogenic agents and inborn errors of metabolism, monitoring of birth defects, neonatal screening and treatment of some genetic diseases, and rubella immunization. In addition, flour fortification with folic acid for prevention of certain birth defects has begun recently. Despite the importance of such initiatives, it is still difficult to view birth defects from a comprehensive perspective. A specific national policy on birth defects must be formulated. Active participation is needed by the Ministry of Health, using existing genetic services as the backbone, in order to develop a regionalized, hierarchical, and functional network related to birth defects in Brazil.
Keywords : Birth Defects; Health Policy; Genetic Services; Medical Genetics; Health Planning.