World Birth Defects Day is observed annually during the month of March to raise awareness about birth defects. This year’s theme, “Every Journey Matters,” aims to:

  • Promote healthy pregnancies
  • Highlight ways to reduce the risk of birth defects
  • Share resources and support services available within communities
  • Advocate for the health of children and families living with birth defects throughout their lives

Birth defects are structural or functional anomalies (e.g., metabolic disorders) that occur during intrauterine life and can be identified during pregnancy, at birth, or sometimes later. They can be caused by genetic, infectious, nutritional, or environmental factors.

Every year, about 3-6% of infants worldwide are born with a serious birth defect, meaning life-altering conditions like spina bifida and congenital heart defects affect millions of babies and families. Birth defects can affect babies regardless of their location, socioeconomic status, or race/ethnicity.

The first-ever World Birth Defects Day was observed in 2015 on March 3rd. Since then, on this occasion each year, WHO-SEARO renews its commitment to supporting Member States in preventing and treating birth defects. They invite stakeholders to observe the day by undertaking activities that raise awareness about the burden of common birth defects and promote their prevention and care.

SAMWUMED’s Maternity Programme

SAMWUMED offers a Maternity Programme that helps expecting mothers take better care of themselves and their unborn babies by providing a wide range of preventive care and early detection benefits. Click here to learn more about registering for our maternity benefits.


Sources: Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and National Birth Defects Prevention Network