Why this Training Program?
What is the Program?
Topics and schedule
What the participants think
  \\  Training Program

Training Program on Surveillance and Prevention of Birth Defects and Preterm Birth
WHO Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland
Organized by the International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Surveillance and Research (ICBDSR),
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO)

Why this Training Program
The “Training Program on Surveillance and Prevention of Birth Defects and Preterm Birth” has been held at the WHO headquarters in Geneva since 2011.

The four-day course is an intensive, theoretical and practical course that blends knowledge and practice in a skill-based workshop. The primary goal is to help countries promote primary prevention and the health of children with birth defects by developing and strengthening surveillance activities, developing expertise, building technical capacity, and promoting international cooperation.

In many countries, including developing countries, birth defects and preterm birth are already, or are quickly becoming, the leading causes of childhood death, chronic illness, and disability. In an effort to address the emerging importance of birth defects, the WHO World Health Assembly on 21 May 2010 adopted a resolution calling all Member States to promote primary prevention and the health of children with birth defects. To achieve these goals, the resolution identified surveillance, capacity building, and international cooperation as key areas for WHO and member countries to promote and strengthen (see page 32 at: http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA63-REC1/WHA63_REC1-P2-en.pdf).

What is the Training Program?
An overarching, practical goal of the Training Program is to provide participants with the knowledge and skills to begin or strengthen a surveillance mechanism for birth defects, with a focus on select, largely preventable conditions. During a blended, skill-based workshop with practical small group sessions participants will:

  • understand principles and practice of surveillance, including planning, implementation, and evaluation
  • understand the health impact and effective prevention strategies for common modifiable risk factors
  • practice specific skills, including how to develop logic models, code and classify cases, analyze data, and communicate effectively with professionals, the public, and policy makers about the importance of surveillance to support prevention efforts

Topics and schedule
The program is intensive and demanding, and includes a web-based pre-course module. The schedule includes time for one-on-one interactions with faculty. Also, faculty will be available for post-course interactions as participants return to their countries to begin or strengthen local surveillance and prevention activities.
The program covers:

  • Overview on birth defects and preterm births
  • Birth defects surveillance: introduction, logic model, case studies
  • Classification and coding
  • Data analysis
  • Quality improvement: initial, ongoing, common pitfalls, tips
  • Metrics and population impact
  • Presenting findings and disseminations

Due to high demand and to allow extensive interaction and practice, openings in 2014 will be limited. For maximum impact and in the spirit of the World Health Assembly resolution, preference will be given to professionals who are:

  • from low and middle resource countries
  • directly involved in the development and quality improvement of surveillance/prevention programs in their countries (participants are encouraged to bring data and address issues relevant to their countries)
  • nominated or sponsored by country or local health authorities
  • strongly committed to long term surveillance programs

Small teams from individual countries are encouraged to apply, particularly if these combine multiple disciplines and skill sets (e.g., medical professional with epidemiologist or analyst).

Trainees 2011
Trainees 2012
Trainees 2013
Trainees 2014

Faculty includes distinguished medical and public health professionals with decades of practical experience, from leading global public health organizations and academic centers.
Faculty 2012
Faculty 2013
Faculty 2014

Details to follow

Details to follow

For questions or additional information please contact:
Via Carlo Mirabello 14, 00195 Rome, Italy
Tel: +39 06 3701905; Fax: +39 06 3701904

What the participants think
Here are some comments from past participants:

“The ICBD training course is not only important for births defects surveillance but also at the end of the course you feel comfortable to deal with any surveillance program due to the knowledge acquired from high ranked trainers with different backgrounds”

“The training program was an opportunity to develop new knowledge and skills in birth defects and preterm birth surveillance research, gain a global perspective on the relevant issues and make contacts with top researchers in the field that will assist and collaborate with you in the future. Overall an incredibly worthwhile experience.”

"I found that the Training Program was really helpful, because it was a challenge to think a surveillance program from scratch. I found really useful the presentations about surveillance systems from the public health point of view.”

“Health and population based surveillance topic was of great interest and help. This is the main information being utilized.”

“I found very helpful the exercises by small groups. The talk about coding process gave me a broader picture of the different ways to manage this kind of programs and we can make it it more adaptable to my population”

“One of the key messages that I went home with was the need to have “champions” in various fields to help with collection of information. I really enjoyed the practical aspects of the course, working through problems as a group. That helped to clarify for me the challenges that others are facing. I also thought that the exercise of presenting to different groups. Finally, I think that the examples of investigating clusters were very helpful. I have been able to use this as an example of why this type of data collection is important”