- An estimated 303 000 newborns die within 4 weeks of birth every year, worldwide, due to congenital anomalies.
- Congenital anomalies can contribute to long-term disability, which may have significant impacts on individuals, families, health-care systems, and societies.
- The most common, severe congenital anomalies are heart defects, neural tube defects and Down syndrome.
- Although congenital anomalies may be the result of one or more genetic, infectious, nutritional or environmental factors, it is often difficult to identify the exact causes.
- Some congenital anomalies can be prevented. Vaccination, adequate intake of folic acid or iodine through fortification of staple foods or supplementation, and adequate antenatal care are just 3 examples of prevention methods.