A rare birth
A rare birth defect is on the rise in rural areas of Pakistan.
An increased incidence of a rare neural tube defect, spina bifida, has been reported in southern Punjab. Spinal cord disease is common in newborns and the incidence is highest in rural areas of Pakistan.
Dr. Syed Asif Shah, assistant professor of pediatrics at SZMCH, reported that he treats about 5-6 children with Spina Bifida every week, and about 50,000 cases of the spinal disease are reported every year across the country.
Folic acid deficiency in women in the first trimester of pregnancy usually results in this birth defect in newborns, he added. The doctor further said that children affected by Spina Bifida can live up to 20 years.
However; Dr. Shah emphasize that this disease is more dangerous than polio virus. And a strong initiative should be take at the government level to conduct an awareness. Campaign against this disease, especially in the rural areas of Punjab. The highest incidence of this disease is in South Punjab including Sadiqaba district where the highest number of cases have been reported.
Similarly; the increase in birth defects in Pakistan‘s rural areas is due to minimal resources. And devastating floods that have exacerbated food shortages in these areas.
In conclusion, the SZMCH spokesperson claimed that the hospital bears the cost of treating. All such patients brought to the hospital’s pediatric department. The doctors demand that the government should conduct an awareness campaign in the backward areas. To reduce the rate of the disease in the country.
In other words, Spina Bifida is a disorder that results in malformation of the spine in children. Resulting in urinary incontinence, paralysis, weakness, etc. Above all; disease can be detected during fetal ultrasound in the fourth week of pregnancy.