Science Magazine published an article focused on the studies underway to test the viability of salt fortification with folic acid in Ethiopia. Salt fortification is a promising and cost effective solution to reduce 44,000+ pregnancies impacted by  neural tube defects each year in Ethiopia.

Excerpt from the article

“These numbers from Ethiopia are some of the worst anywhere and ever,” says Marinus Koning, a retired surgeon who is founder of the ReachAnother Foundation, a charity based in Bend, Oregon, that has supported the training of dozens of Ethiopian neurosurgeons. “Something needs to be done about it.”

At the invitation of the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, Koning and scientists from the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands began to work with experts at the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) in Addis Ababa to develop a plan to address NTDs. The result was an issue brief released by EPHI in May that recommended the government consider salt fortification.

What are spina bifida and hydrocephalus?

Spina bifida and hydrocephalus are neural tube defects (NTDs), which are birth defects that affect a baby’s spine, spinal cord, or brain.

Normally, a fetus’ neural tube develops into their brain, spinal cord, and spinal column, but if a mother does not have sufficient folic acid in her diet during pregnancy the neural tube does not fully form or close completely.

Spina bifida, “open back,” occurs when the spine has failed to close properly during the first month of pregnancy. Surgery is needed to close the defect immediately after birth to prevent infection and preserve the existing function in the spinal nerves. Approximately 90% of babies born with spina bifida are also impacted by hydrocephalus, “water on the brain.”

Babies born with hydrocephalus suffer a fluid build up in their brain, which causes an enlarged head and, if untreated, will cause brain damage and death. Treatment of hydrocephalus consists of implanting a shunt to drain the excess fluid. When treated in a timely fashion, the overwhelming majority of these babies can go on to lead healthy lives.

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“It was incredible to be able to volunteer in the hospital as a medical student and watch as the life of a child with hydrocephalus was forever changed. But it also gave me the chance to realize that giving a life to one child also means helping that child's mother, father, family and loved ones. It provides the community with hope to know that someone cares and is willing to help.”

Lacey Menkin MD

Orlando, Florida Medical Student

We are committed to

Expanding pediatric neurosurgery capacity to save more lives

Expanding pediatric neurosurgery capacity to save more lives

Expanding pediatric neurosurgery capacity to save more lives

John Moseley, PHD

Board Member

John received his BS, MS and PhD degrees in Physics from Georgia Institute of Technology, and has received multiple awards for his research there, at SRI, and at UO. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the AAAs, is listed in Who's Who in Frontier Science and Technology, in America, and in the World. He has participated at the National and International level in numerous scientific and educational committees and activities. At the local level, he has participated in a number of research, economic development, and arts related initiatives.

Dr. Moseley retired in 2006. He and his wife, Susan, live in Eugene, OR.
John has participated in visits to Ethiopia as a volunteer member of the ReachAnother Foundation team 2015 and 2017.

"My wife Susan and I first became interested in the work in Ethiopia through our friendship with Dick and Patricia. After attending a fund-raising dinner in Bend in 2012, my wife we hosted one in Eugene, and became increasingly involved, so when I was asked to join the Board in 2014 I was more than happy to do so. Participating with the team in Ethiopia in 2015 helped me to realize the effectiveness and potential of this effort, and I have appreciated the opportunity to help ever since."

We’re in it for the babies. For the families.
For Ethiopia. For the world.
We are dedicated to this work, our human family and to one another.
We are united to transform.
We are a catalyst for change.