Role of folic acid supplementation in prevention of neural tube defects: physicians yet unaware!


Folic acid supplementation is important in the prevention of Neural Tube Defects (NTD). The study was conducted to assess the awareness amongst physicians regarding the role of Folic Acid (FA) in the prevention of NTD. Physicians were interviewed regarding the awareness of FA dose, timing of supplementation and knowledge about its role in prevention of neural tube defects using a semistructured questionnaire. Among 202 physicians interviewed (48 pediatricians, 54 obstetricians, 100 recently qualified medical graduates) overall awareness about FA was present in 92.07%, similar in three groups (P > 0.05). Only 47.52% were aware of preconception administration, 61.38% about dose of supplementation and 11.88% about recurrence rate of NTD. Only 15 (7.4%) knew all these. Regarding the etiology of NTDs only 26.7% said both FA and genetic factors are involved. Though majority were aware that folic acid has a role in prevention of NTDs, their knowledge about timing and dose of supplementation was lacking. Hence attempts should be made to increase the awareness regarding prevention of NTD?s by FA supplementation at a proper time.