Nutrition Folate Task Team

A global nutrition Task Team for the control of folate deficiency and folic acid responsive neural tube defects.

The work of the folate task team is being supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Through Nutrition Technical Assistance Mechanism (NTEAM)’s folate task team project, Nutrition International is helping to lay the groundwork for implementing a global strategy for the control of folate deficiency and prevention of related neural tube defects.

Maternal folate deficiency in the first 28 days of pregnancy is a major cause of neural tube defects. The most common forms of these defects include spina bifida and anencephaly, which are important causes of elective pregnancy terminations, stillbirths, early neonatal deaths, or long-term disabilities. Improving maternal folate status through folic acid fortification or supplementation can dramatically reduce the number of affected births and significantly contribute to reducing neonatal and child mortality.

The folate task team comprises a group of global partners under the leadership of Nutrition International, joining together to advance an action plan for neural tube defects prevention.


Supporting a global strategy for folate

A recent technical consultation convened by the Micronutrient Forum – whose Secretariat was hosted by Nutrition International between 2011 – 2017 – led to the development of a Roadmap for Action to advance and accelerate neural tube defects prevention globally. To advance the recommendations featured in this roadmap, Nutrition International has assembled a folate task team, which will coordinate activities for the advancement of the implementation agenda to reduce folate-responsive neural tube defects.

The folate task team is leading an expert advisory group and a core working group, and benefits from the experience and collaboration of selected global partners. Working together, these experts will:

  • Facilitate access to the scientific and technical conclusions of the Roadmap for Action and folate-related knowledge products,
  • Conduct a landscape analysis to prioritize countries where actions to reduce folate-sensitive neural tube defects are more needed and more likely to show impact,
  • Build laboratory capacity in selected number of low and middle income countries to assess folate status, and
  • Support research to further inform the activities towards the global action plan.


A global project, supported by global experts

NTEAM’s folate task team gratefully acknowledges the active guidance and contribution of expertise of the following global partners:

Webinar – Improving child survival at the intersection of nutrition and birth defects

On December 4th, 2018 the Folate Task Team hosted an interactive webinar with renowned global experts in nutrition, birth defects, food fortification, and advocacy. Learn about a transformative global effort to greatly reduce the risk of neural tube defects through improved nutrition.

Speakers include:

Amy Cordero, MPA – Deputy Team Lead, Prevention Research, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Lynn Bailey, PhD – Professor and Head of the Department of Foods and Nutrition, University of Georgia

Scott Montgomery – Director, Food Fortification Initiative

Homero Martinez, MD, PhD – Senior Technical Advisor, Nutrition International

Tom Scott – CEO, Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland

Elena Záppoli – President, Asociación para Espina Bífida e Hidrocefalia Argentina

Ruth Nalugya – Chair, The Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Uganda
*Please note that due to some technical difficulties Ruth’s section has been added after the closing remarks of the webinar.

PDF Folate Task Team Webinar – Improving child survival at the intersection of nutrition and birth defects

Featured Publications


  • The Spina Bifida Association has released Guidelines for the Care of People with Spina Bifida. The Guidelines were developed to provide every healthcare professional– from generalists to specialists– a roadmap of the best evidence-based and expert treatment available from birth through adulthood.

Articles Featured in the Annals of the  New York Academy of Sciences Special Issue: Folate Status in Women and Neural Tube Defect Risk Reduction

Previously Featured Publications

Past Events


The folate task team is seeking global partners interested in collaborating on this important initiative for the prevention of folate deficiency and neural tube defects.


Homero Martinez
Project Lead, Folate Task Team and Senior Technical Advisor, NTEAM


Through NTEAM, Nutrition International invests in innovative approaches to solve difficult issues and develops products and services that help build capacity for nutrition globally, including services to support global collaborations. NTEAM understands that more can be accomplished if global experts work together and so actively supports the work of partnerships through enabling Task Forces for Nutrition.