World Birth Defects Day is launched

3 March 2015

Hello everyone, 

In this special World Birth Defects Day edition:

NZORD is pleased to see the development of an international effort to recognize the impact of birth defects and acknowledges the lead taken by the NZ Birth Defects Registry to fly the NZ flag in this wider network. You can join in the network by signing up with the NZ registry (details below). Here’s their information release about the first World Birth Defects day, today, Tuesday 3 March 2015:

A network of 12 leading global health organizations had announced the first annual World Birth Defects Day, to be observed March 3, 2015. The purpose is to raise awareness about the occurrence of birth defects, develop and implement primary prevention programs, and expand referral and care services for all persons with birth defects.

Birth defects, also called congenital anomalies, include conditions such as spina bifida, cleft lip, congenital heart disease, Down Syndrome, hypothyroidism, sickle cell anaemia and many others. They are present at birth, but may be diagnosed later. Birth defects can be caused by genetic or environmental factors, or by their interaction.

Birth defects are a common, costly, and a critical public health challenge. In New Zealand, one in every 24 babies (about 7 every day, or 2,500 every years) born are affected by birth defects.  Birth defects are the leading cause of death in infants and young children. And, for babies who survive and live with these conditions, birth defects increase their risk for long-term disabilities. 

Our vision is for every child to have the best health possible and the potential for a full and productive life.

For too long, birth defects, which can be individually rare but are collectively common, have not received sufficient attention to advance their prevention and care. This is why we have established a consortium of international organisations engaged in research, surveillance and advocacy seeking to join its efforts with people with birth defects, their families, support groups, and other stakeholders worldwide to raise awareness of these conditions, with the aim of promoting prevention, better care, and research. By recognising the common problems across many different types of birth defect, we can go forward most effectively.

As a network, we recognize that partnerships are critical to our mission. We cannot do this work alone. As we continue to seek opportunities for current and future collaboration, we invite you to join our efforts to help raise awareness of birth defects. If you are interested in partnering with us, or require any further information about birth defects in New Zealand please contact: 

Associate Professor Barry Borman, Director New Zealand Birth Defects Registry
Centre for Public Health Research, Massey University-Wellington
T: (04) 979 3383 or E: 

More information is available at this link.

Regards, john