ABU DHABI // Once a month a foetal neurology clinic at Corniche Hospital will monitor high-risk pregnancies.
Launched last summer by two Abu Dhabi Health Services facilities in the capital, the clinic will provide a glimmer of hope for expectant mothers whose foetus has been discovered to have a neurological defect.
Spina bifada, the most common of congenital spinal and neurological abnormalities, occurs approximately once in every 1,000 births, and in 99 per cent of cases, it can be detected in through a detailed ultrasound.
With more than 10,000 babies born each year at Corniche Hospital - the capital's largest maternity hospital - the need to provide counselling, labour management and postnatal care for high-risk pregnancies is crucial.
When high-risk babies are born, they will be immediately transported to the Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) where the head of neurosurgery, Dr Dominic Venne, will operate to save their lives or improve the quality of life.
"Babies requiring neurosurgery will be scheduled for urgent procedures at SKMC even before birth," Dr Venne said.
"This recent concept is extremely important since surgeries performed early after birth can improve the prognosis or can even save the life of these babies."
Spina bifada, where the spinal cord protrudes through the back, cannot be cured. However, early closure of the defect can prevent further damage, and give the newborn a chance to live.