Consanguineous marriages, malnutrition and infections, among others, are resulting in the birth of more than 80,000 infants every year with various types of congenital defects and genetic disorders in Andhra Pradesh.

While more than seven lakh children were born every year with some serious birth defects, the incidence of birth defects and genetic diseases was higher in Andhra Pradesh, said A. Jyothi, Director, Institute of Genetics & Hospital for Genetic Diseases here. As per WHO estimates, 4-7 per cent of children were born each year with some serious birth defects and genetic abnormalities in developing and developed countries.

Training programme

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, she said in a bid to create awareness on prevention and early detection of genetic disorders, the institute decided to organise training programme for about 2,000 PHC doctors across all the 23 districts in the State. Rajiv Vidya Mission (SSA), Government of Andhra Pradesh, was funding the programme.

In the first phase, around 700 doctors from 10 Telangana districts would attend the training starting Friday. The PHC medical officers would be familiarised with genetic concepts and counselling.

Congenital heart abnormalities were the most prevalent, followed by thalassaemia, sickle cell anaemia, muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy and neural tube defects. Around 25 per cent deaths in infant period were due to these genetic abnormalities.

Stressing that some these abnormalities could be prevented, she said neural tube defects could be well managed by giving folic acid before pregnancy. Similarly, consanguineous marriages should not be encouraged.