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World Health Organisation (WHO) Collaborating Centre for the Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies

The Centre for Maternal, Fetal and Infant Health (MFIR), home of the Central Registry of the European Surveillance of Congenital Anomaly Network (up to 2014), is designated as a WHO Collaborating Centre for the Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies.

In this capacity the MFIR centre assists the WHO in implementing the 63rd World Health Assembly on birth defects at both a European and global level. The MFIR centre also assists the WHO in implementing its strategy for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs action plan 2008-2013).

Collection of data on congenital anomalies

  • 38 population-based EUROCAT registries in 21 countries (surveying 1.7 million births per year in Europe)
  • Calculate prevalence (livebirth, fetal death, termination of pregnancy following prenatal diagnosis of congenital anomaly)
  • Update annually to include 2013 data by 2015 and made available on interactive website tables [prevalence tables] [prenatal tables]

Establishment of a network of WHO Collaborating Centres working on birth defects

  • Coordinate effort to implement the Birth Defects Resolution

Provision of technical guidance tools and software for congenital anomaly registries

  • EUROCAT Data Management Programme [EDMP]
  • EUROCAT Guide 1.4 – Instruction for the Registration of Congenital Anomalies  [Guide 1.4]
  • Facilitate the setting up of new registries in Europe (EUROCAT Network expansion)
  • Facilitate the setting up of new registries globally

Prevention of Congenital Heart Defects

  • Collect prevalence, perinatal mortality and prenatal diagnosis data
  • Inform next NCD Action Plan in relation to cardiovascular disease

Preparation of the WHO's International Classification of Disease version 11 Chapter on Developmental Anomalies

  • EUROCAT Coding and Classification Committee
  • Liaise with Orphanet and EUCERD


The following two documents are very useful and relevant resources collaboratively produced between the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Surveillance and Research (ICBDSR).