The National Academy of Science and Technology of the Department of the Science and Technology (NAST-DOST) conducted Science Legislative Forum (SLF) on Folic Acid at the Jen Hotel, Manila on June 28, 2016

Academician Carmencita D. Padilla a member of health Science Division (HSD) NAST Philippines and Chancellor, University of the Philippines, Manila explained the reason for this SLF in Folic Acid.

Padilla is the author of the New Born Baby Screening, Rare and Neglected Disease and others.

She said that neural tube defects (NTD’s) are the second most common group of serious birth defects. Although folic acid has been shown to reduce effectively the risk of NTDs and measures have been taken to increase the awareness, knowledge and consumption of folic acid, the full potential of folic acid to reduce the risk of NTDs has not been realized in most countries, including the Philippines.

With this, SLF on Folic Acid aims to review the global and Philippines burden NTDs; to review the burden of folic acid deficiency and insufficiency in the Philippines; to review evidence for, impacts of, and safety of increasing folic acid intake; to review experiences in increasing folic acid intake globally and in the Philippines; to orient the various stakeholders on the proposed legislations on folic acid supplementation and fortification; and to discuss the role of government agencies, the academe, and the private sector.

The paper presented and SLF discussions will be part of the policy paper that will be the basis of legislation.

Topics discussed were; Burden of neural tube defects in Philippine by Dr. Marissa B. Lukban Head, Section of Pediatric Neurology, Departments of Pediatrics and Neurosciences Philippine General Hospital, Manila; Increasing folic acid intake; evidence for reduction of NTDs other benefits and safety by Dr. Robert John Berry, Medical Epidemiologist Prevention Research Branch, National Center on Birth defects and Development Disabilities US Centers for Disease Control; Global experience in increasing folic acid intake by Dr. Helena Pachon Senior Nutrition Scientist Food Fortification Initiative; Surgical management of patients with neural tube defects by Dr. Gerardo D. Legaspi Director, Philippine General Hospital (PGH), Manila and Neurosurgeon, Department of Neurosciences, PGH, Manila; Fortifications efforts in the Philippines Successes and challenges by Ms. Maria Lourdes A. Vega Chief, Nutrition Policy and Planning Division National Nutrition Council; and Highlights of proposed legislation. (PSciJourn MegaManila)