Prevention

Prevention through food fortification will reduce neural tube defects by 70%

We are actively working to make this a reality

The primary cause of neural tube birth defects is a lack of sufficient folic acid (a B vitamin) in the mother’s diet.
Every pregnancy is potentially at risk from being affected by a neural tube defect, however, the majority of cases could be prevented with simple prevention measures.

We are committed to

Forging deep relationships to ensure meaningful and lasting change

Working on solutions to address the neural tube defect crisis at its roots

Inspiring medical professionals with a new perspective on neural tube defects

Prevention & Awareness – An integral part of the solution

To address the alarming rate of babies born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus in Ethiopia each year, ReachAnother is working with international partners to implement a two-pronged approach: Primary prevention, which aims to prevent neural tube defects before they occur through food fortification, and secondary prevention, through education, awareness and folic acid supplements for at-risk families.

Salt Fortification Project

In 2018, we were asked by the Ethiopian Ministry of Health to develop a plan to bring folic acid to all women of childbearing age. We formed an international coalition of global partners and held a Technical Expert Conference to present a solution of ‘fortification of iodized salt with folic acid’ to the Ethiopian government.

We are currently working with Nutrition International and the Ethiopian Public Health Institute to proceed with the preliminary studies needed to assess salt fortification with folic acid, its stability, and patient acceptance.

Our web of collaboration includes the Center for Spina Bifida Prevention of Emory University, Nutrition International, the International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, the Food fortification Initiative (CDC) and the Ethiopian Ministry of Health.

Once implemented, a folic acid food fortification program will decrease the incidence of neural tube defects by 70%. Because flour is not part of a traditional Ethiopian diet, salt fortification will ensure that folic acid reaches the overall population.

Education & Awareness

ReachAnother is working with Ethiopian public health officials and international charity organizations to educate women on the benefits of taking folic acid supplements as part of their daily routines. Since its inception ReachAnother Foundation has worked to ‘spread the word’ about prevention to all audiences in Ethiopia.

Through collaborative partnerships with the neurosurgeons, Regional Health Bureaus, Rotary Clubs, Universities and the Ethiopian Midwifery Organization, and through interviews and presentations on Radio and TV, we have created increasing public awareness and educated hundreds of health extension worker, midwives, physical therapists about neural tube defect awareness, prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Salt Fortification Project

In 2018, we were asked by the Ethiopian Ministry of Health to develop a plan to bring folic acid to all women of childbearing age. We formed an international coalition of global partners and held a Technical Expert Conference to present a solution of ‘fortification of iodized salt with folic acid’ to the Ethiopian government.

We are currently working with Nutrition International and the Ethiopian Public Health Institute to proceed with the preliminary studies needed to assess salt fortification with folic acid, its stability, and patient acceptance.

Our web of collaboration includes the Center for Spina Bifida Prevention of Emory University, Nutrition International, the International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, the Food fortification Initiative (CDC) and the Ethiopian Ministry of Health.

Once implemented, a folic acid food fortification program will decrease the incidence of neural tube defects by 70%. Because flour is not part of a traditional Ethiopian diet, salt fortification will ensure that folic acid reaches the overall population.

Education & Awareness


ReachAnother is working with Ethiopian public health officials and international charity organizations to educate women on the benefits of taking folic acid supplements as part of their daily routines. Since its inception ReachAnother Foundation has worked to ‘spread the word’ about prevention to all audiences in Ethiopia.

Through collaborative partnerships with the neurosurgeons, Regional Health Bureaus, Rotary Clubs, Universities and the Ethiopian Midwifery Organization, and through interviews and presentations on Radio and TV, we have created increasing public awareness and educated hundreds of health extension worker, midwives, physical therapists about neural tube defect awareness, prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Training Film for Hydrocephalus & Spina Bifida

“We believe in collaboration and empowering our Ethiopian partners to create a better future for children born with neural tube defects in Ethiopia. In order to do that, we continually explore new avenues, new partnerships and new creative ways to have the most impact”

Chloe Honaker Richon

Executive Administrator

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.