VYLH, GeneSoc attend NAST-PHL RTD on Folic Acid

by Ryan Pascual (Regulon)

“We need folic acid.”
Participants of the NAST-DOST RTD on Folic Acid
(Photo: NAST-DOST)

Those were the words mentioned by UP Manila Vice-Chancellor for Research Dr. Eva Cutiongco-de la Paz as she concluded the Round Table Discussion (RTD) on Folic Acid hosted by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) last June 23, 2015 at Hotel Jen Manila

The RTD on Folic acid focused on the importance of taking enough folic acid by all women in the reproductive age. Folic acid is a B-vitamin (Vitamin B6) that is important in the prevention of neural tube defects (NTDs) or problems in the development of the baby’s brain and spinal cord. It is recommended that all women in the reproductive age need 400 micrograms of the vitamin per day, while the dose increases by ten times for high-risk mothers such as those who had a child with an NTD (4,000 micrograms/day). 

Dr. Carmencita Padilla presenting the highlights of the
proposed bill on Folic acid supplementation and
mandatory fortification (Photo:NAST-DOST)
According to a NAST release, “the RTD acknowledged the role of different sectors in the drafting of the policy on Folic acid supplementation and food fortification”. In the RTD, invited experts discussed the burden of neural defects; the importance of folic acid supplementation to avoid NTDs; and the current local and global programs in food fortification. 

Highlights of the proposed legislation on folic acid, “An Act Establishing a Comprehensive Policy on achieving adequate intake of Folic acid through Fortification and Supplementation” were also presented in the RTD by NAST Academician and UP Manila Chancellor Dr. Carmencita Padilla. In her presentation, Dr. Padilla mentioned that “there are already many efforts addressing folic acid deficiency that only require coordination and support of policy…and when the bill will be passed, there are other challenges in implementing and monitoring it, but it is important to already start in crafting it (the bill)”. Dr. Padilla, also the focal person of the RTD, asked the audience to give their inputs and support to the bill. 

As representatives of the youth, members of VYLH-Philippines and The UPLB Genetics Society (GeneSoc) joined the Folic acid RTD. Aside from newborn screening promotion and rare disorder support, both organizations are involved in the campaign on increasing public awareness, especially among women in the reproductive age, on the importance of folic acid and its role on preventing neural tube defects.(RPascual; with reports from NAST-DOST)


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The UPLB GeneSoc extends its gratitude to NAST-DOST for considering the organization as one of the youth representatives invited to this event. This article was first published in Youth for Health, the Official Publication of VYLH-Philippines.

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