This July 18, Volunteer Youth Leaders for Health (VYLH) – Philippines, a national collaboration of youth leaders of youth organizations in universities and communities in the Philippines, will be launching the first National Social Media day for Folic Acid Awareness, #FolicAcidPH. The social media activity aims to increase public awareness on the vitamin, its sources, and its role for good health and the prevention of neural tube defects (NTDs).
Studies have shown that the intake of folic acid or vitamin B9 through supplementation and food fortification can significantly reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs) or problems on the development of the baby’s brain and spine. NTDs comprise one of the most common group of serious birth defects and these may result in immediate infant death, deformity or disability. Although there are efforts directed towards increasing awareness, knowledge and consumption of folic acid, the full potential of folic acid to reduce the risk of NTDs has not yet realized in most countries, including the Philippines.
In the Philippines, awareness on the significance of folic acid supplementation among Filipino women in reproductive age is presumed to be low. Furthermore, folate deficiency has been determined to exist. According to the 7th National Nutrition Survey by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute-DOST, 1 in every 5 pinays is folate deficient. Hence, there is a need for increasing public awareness on this matter, especially in the absence of a legislation on folic acid fortification, supplementation and public education.
In order to promote public awareness, #FolicAcidPH will utilize Facebook, Twitter and Thunderclap as its major online platforms. Suggested tweets, status messages and infographics will also be provided by the youth network. Aside from these, interested youth groups, government agencies, and non-government organizations are invited to join the cause and become a partner of the social media campaign.
Aside from the social media campaign, VYLH-Philippines will also be celebrating its 7th Founding Anniversary on the same day. It was on the night of July 18, 2009 when its pioneer batch composed of 78 volunteer youth leaders accepted the challenge of promoting folic acid awareness as one of the flagship health advocacies of the network.
For more details about #FolicAcidPH, please visit bit.ly/folicacidph or the official campaign Facebook page (fb.com/folicacidph).