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Ukrainian-American Birth Defects Program

Main Activities of the Ukrainian-American Birth Defects Program and Their Results (1999-2003)

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July 27, 2004

Wolodymyr Wertelecki,
Director of the Ukrainian-American
Birth Defects Program

Lyubov Yevtushok,
Medical Coordinator of the Ukrainian-American
Birth Defects Program

"The preservation of defective children by complicated and costly surgical and medical measures sometimes is viewed with concern by scientists conscious of the social and genetic aspects of the problem. Sometimes it is said that too much is done for the crippled and the mentally retarded ... It seems doubtful that it is necessary in our times to sacrifice the weak for the strong.Our society and our laws protect and guarantee human life - perfect or imperfect ... There have been other societies ... A charitable attitude toward the weak, the deformed and the mentally handicapped - irrational as it may seem sometimes to clever analysts - apparently has a beneficial effect on the society that maintains it and fosters it ... Abnormal children teach us a great deal ... and a great deal is learned through their treatment and training ... It is the price to be paid by those who have normal children - the price to be paid for overcoming the barbarism and cruelty inherent in societies that eliminate the weak and dispose of the deformed."

(Preface to Chapter "Present Trends in Teratology"
from Josef Warkany's book "Congenital Malformations:
Notes and Comments". Year Book Medical Publishers. 1971: 28.)


This report is a summary of 5 years of the Ukrainian-American Birth Defects Program's activities. The Program was founded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in 1998 due to initiatives of its Director Prof. W. Wertelecki (Chairman of the Department of Medical Genetics, University of South Alabama, USA).

The Program's achievements and successes became possible due to efforts and coordinated activities of many people in Ukraine and abroad and we are very grateful to them.

As the result of the Program's activities in birth defects surveillance according to international standards Ukraine was officially accepted as an associated member of the International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Monitoring Systems (ICBDMS, Rome, Italy). In the frames of the Program, Rivne and Volyn Oblasts implement the idea of creation of "electronic passport of the child" by developing newborns database.

Child Development and Birth Defects Prevention OMNI-Center Network became a considerable informational-resource potential in the field of improvement of medical specialists' and people's education, providing care to children with birth defects and other abnormalities, supporting the Alliance for the Prevention of Birth Defects and National Fortification Alliance.

More detailed description of the events is given below.

Ukrainian-American Birth Defects Program Poster

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27/July/2004 sl