March of Dimes is recognized as a Non-State Agent in Official Relations with PAHO
March of Dimes has collaborated with PAHO's Latin American Center for Perinatology, Women's Health, and Reproductive Health (CLAP/SMR) as a Non-State Agent in Official Relations since 2001. This is a privileged status granted by PAHO's governing bodies to certain organizations, and it includes a three-year collaboration agreement and the possibility of participating in PAHO governance sessions.
Since 2013, this alliance has focused on research and on training in-country health personnel to collect information on premature newborns, the burden of disease, infections, and birth defects. They have worked on materials on infections transmitted from mother to child, and they have evaluated legislation and the availability of support programs in the care of these babies, as well as the economic costs of premature birth in the region; all of this has helped to guide effective public health interventions.
A key topic for this alliance was the joint promotion to establish a World Birth Defects Day, which since 2015 has been celebrated on March 3 to give greater visibility to this issue. March of Dimes also played a central role in launching World Prematurity Day, commemorated every November 17, which provides information on the health consequences to children of premature birth..
The joint work between PAHO/CLAP and March of Dimes has allowed countries of the Region to strengthen interventions to reduce the disease and disability associated with premature births and birth defects. Based on the work of this alliance, more and more countries now have surveillance systems for birth defects, which allows them to develop more effective actions when addressing the care of children.
March of Dimes is an exceptional partner for PAHO and for this reason, PAHO’s governing bodies granted this ally the privilege of being in official relations. March of Dimes brings its knowledge of the subject, its prestige and its network of experts around the world, as well as a key communication and mobilization capacity, to give greater visibility to premature births and congenital defects.