World Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day Date in the current year: October 25, 2022

World Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day World Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day is observed annually on October 25. It was created to raise awareness of two conditions that effect the spine and the brain and to advocate for people living with these conditions.

Spina bifida and hydrocephalus are neural tube defects in which an opening in the spine or cranium remains open during early development in pregnancy. Neural tube defects affect over 300,000 births globally each year, which makes them one of the most common congenital disorders. They have no cure and can result in permanent disability in severe cases.

Spina bifida is the most common neural tube defect. It is characterized by the incomplete closing of the spine and meninges (the membranes surrounding the spinal cord). Spina bifida is usually located in the lower back, although there are rare cases of it occurring in the middle back or neck. Severe spina bifida can affect a person’s ability to walk and bowel or bladder control, as well as cause other problems.

Hydrocephalus is a condition in which cerebrospinal fluid accumulates within the brain. It does not necessarily result from birth defects, but neural tube defects indeed are among the most common causes of hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus typically causes increased intracranial pressure; its typical symptoms in babies include rapid growth of the head, vomiting, seizures, sleepiness, and Parinaud’s syndrome (an inability to move the eyes up and down).

World Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day (WSPHD) was established by the International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (IFSBH) during its General Assembly in 2011 and observed for the first time in 2012. Its main aims are to raise awareness and understanding about spina bifida and hydrocephalus (SBH) and to promote the rights of children and adults affected by these conditions, with a special focus on patients that don’t have access to proper medical care and rehabilitation.

Every year, the IDSBH declares a new theme for world Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day. Past themes have included Good Nutrition and Folic Acid Prevents Spina Bifida, Mental Health of People with Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus, Unlock Your Right to Health, Elevate Your Voice, and others.

WSBHD events include conferences, symposiums, seminars, webinars, social media campaigns, musical concerts, talent shows, and other events and activities that highlight the challenges that people with SBH face on a daily basis, help to combat stigma and discrimination, and bring together healthcare professionals, policymakers, people with SBH and their families, and other stakeholders to improve access to healthcare and quality of life for those living with SBH.

You can get involved with WSBHD by learning more about spina bifida and hydrocephalus to understand what people with these conditions go through, donate to an organization that helps SBH patients or funds SBH research, and spread awareness on social media with the hashtag #WSBAHD. If you or your loved one have been affected by spina bifida or hydrocephalus, consider sharing your story online to combat stigma and give hope to fellow patients.

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International Observances

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World Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day, international observances, neural tube defects, spina bifida, hydrocephalus