Neural tube defects, their implications and solutions in Muslim society

Supplementary Files




Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) are serious congenital abnormalities and most of them are incompatible with life. The extremely debilitating quality of life, if one survives, calls for actions to prevent such sufferings.  Experts agree on the role of Folic Acid in primary prevention of NTDs, yet, despite best efforts, the use of Folic Acid has reduced NTDs by only 50%. These cases too can be prevented by employing secondary preventive measures. These involve timely interruption of pregnancy -- a decision which, in addition to a medical judgment, is based on ethics, social, cultural and Muslim religious value systems in Pakistan. Indeed, it is a complex issue but empathic understanding and strong co-ordination, once established between different disciplines, can help parents to decide and opt for necessary secondary prevention by interruption of malformed foetus within the given time frame mandated by medical and religious authorities.