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Representatives of the Global Initiative for Children's Surgery (GICS), including Professor Kokila Lakhoo from Oxford University Global Surgery Group (OUGSG), were invited to discuss the surveillance, management and diagnosis of birth defects at the 2023 International Conference on Birth Defects and Disabilities in the Developing World (ICBD). This followed two years of negotiations by Professor Lakhoo and Professor Tahmina Banu, GICS Chair-Elect.

Left photo: Professor Tahmina Banu and Professor Kokila Lakhoo presenting at the conference. Right photo: The surgical team.
Left: Professors Tahmina Banu and Kokila Lakhoo. Right: The surgical team.

The surgical delegation was successful in making their voices heard to this international body so that the surgical care of children with birth defects is included at global policy making platforms.

The delegation included Professor Tahmina Banu (team leader and paediatric surgeon, Bangladesh), Dr Rahman (systems and social scientist, Bangladesh), Professor Kokila Lakhoo (paediatric surgeon, Oxford), Professor Simone Abid (paediatric surgeon, Brazil), Dr Marycarmen Olivio (Paediatric Surgeon, Chile), Dr Lily Saldana (paediatric surgeon, Peru), Dr Marilyn Butler (paediatric surgeon, USA), and Dr Doruk Ozgediz (paediatric surgeon, USA).

Held in Santiago, Chile from 1 to 4 March - to coincide with World Birth Defects Day - the biennial ICBD conference aims to enhance capacity in lower and middle-income countries (LMIC), improve surveillance and diagnosis of birth defects and disabilities, address risk factors related to birth defects and disabilities, and improve outcomes. 

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