Thank you for joining us in raising awareness for the fourth annual World Birth Defects Day! We have a new website this year: visit regularly for news and information.

This toolkit will provide you with the resources and tips you need to make your own media and advocacy campaign a success. Within the toolkit, you will find the following: Key Messages, Things You Can Do, Web Resources, Information on the Thunderclap and Buzzday, Sample Social Media Posts, and Social Media Tips.

Please join using making March 3, 2018 a global event and lend your voice to this important cause!



For use whenever you speak and write about World Birth Defects Day.


  1. Birth defects are common, costly, and critical.
  2. Every year, about 8 million babies worldwide are born with a serious birth defect, and about 3 million of them will die before their fifth birthday.
  3. Worldwide, all countries and their populations are affected by birth defects, but the toll is particularly harsh in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Click here to learn more about the global distribution of birth defects.
  1. Birth defects area major cause of child
  2. Those who survive with birth defects may face a lifetime of disability. These children and adults need access to healthcare services to improve their quality of life.
  3. Many birth defects can be prevented by taking appropriate measures before and during pregnancy.
  • Click here to learn more about healthy choices to help prevent birth defects.
  1. Appropriate treatment and care can help many people with birth defects reach their full potential in life.
  2. There is a need to establish national surveillance systems to get accurate and up-to-date national, regional and global estimates of birth defects.
  3. There are still many questions about the causes of birth defects. We need more research to find the unknown causes of birth defects and ways to better prevent and treat them.
  4. Find out more at



  1. Publicize World Birth Defects Day (#WorldBDDay) on your website.
  • Feature the WBDD logo and information on your website’s home page.
    • Or create a WBDD page on your website.
  • Use your social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and other channels to promote and disseminate information about WorldBirth Defects Day.
    • Add the WBDD Facebook Frame to your profile picture or that of your organization’s.
  • Click here for a March of Dimes example from 2017.
  1. Add the WBDD logo and hashtag in your email signature.
  2. On March 3, be active on social media.
  3. If you don’t already have one, create a personal or organizational social media account on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or another social media site.
    • Familiarize yourself with ways to encourage engagement on social media. A presentation on “Use of New Media for Public Health Messaging” can be viewed here and click here for a brief introduction to the use of social media for health promotion.
  4. Use the hashtag #WorldBDDay on Twitter. Follow, Retweet, Comment and Like posts by fellow birth defects prevention advocates there and on other social media platforms.
  5. Create your own posts (don’t forget to use the hashtag #WorldBDDay). See examples of social media messaging in Appendix 2.
  6. Support the World Birth Defects DayThunderclap Campaign, — see how in Appendix 2.
  7. Participate in the Buzzday on March 3, 2018. Learn how in Appendix 3.


  1. Disseminate information about your organization’s activities in support of World Birth Defects Day or about birth defects in general.
    • Write an article or a blog for a newspaper, magazine or other online resource.
    • Organize a press conference. There are several websites that can help you learn to conduct a press conference. Search Google for the key words, “how to do a press conference.”
    • Organize a scientific event (e.g., conference, workshop, lunch and learn, lecture, webinar or a more general conference).
    • Organize a social event (e.g., marathon, tournament, or awards/honoree dinner).
    • Disseminate pins, buttons, flyers or posters to participants in events you are organizing — and please be respectful of the environment.
    • Use the World Birth Defects Day logo and hashtag #WorldBDDay on your materials and documents.
    • Post on social media one or more pictures of your services, clinics and facilities, and post them with real, relevant and unique information.
    • Post on social media one or more pictures of the events you have organized or any other relevant document you have produced to observe World Birth Defects Day.
    • Add the WBDD Facebook Frame to your profile picture or that of your organization’s. Encourage your friends to do the same.
    • Try to engage others to be a Participating Organization for the 2018 World Birth Defects Day. Share the website and help expand the effort each year.
  1. Promote and track your activities for the inclusion in the 2018WBDD Report.
    • Please send the relevant material (including screen shots, final materials and metrics) to centre@icbdsr.orgto be included in the final activity report and posted on (Click here to see the 2017 WBDD Report.).
    • Next year will be the five-year anniversary of World Birth Defects Day. Please brainstorm with us and share ideas for that!



Use these links to develop your own material or add these links in your social media posts:

World Health Organization:

 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

 March of Dimes:

 National Birth Defects Prevention Network:

 International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Surveillance and Research (ICBDSR):

 World Birth Defects Day:

Questions and Ideas? Contact us at


Appendix 1

Help Create a Buzz on March 3,2018!


We need you to spread the word by joining the Thunderclap for World Birth Defects Day. Thunderclap is a crowd speaking tool that helps amplify our mission through supporters signing up in advance to post a unified message at a specific time on their social media accounts. This action creates a wave of support, or “Thunderclap” across social media platforms.

Register today by clicking choosing a social media platform. When you sign up, Thunderclap will automatically post a one-time message to your account at 10:00A.M. Eastern time on March 3. There’s no need to sign in the day of the event. Encourage your friends, family and co-workers to do the same.

This year’s Thunderclap message is, “Many birth defects can be prevented & treated. Help spread global awareness for World Birth Defects Day. #WorldBDDay“

With your help, we can reach more people and raise awareness about the global crisis of birth defects. In 2017, the Thunderclap allowed us to reach close to three million people worldwide simultaneously!



A Buzzday is a mass social media activity designed to get attention. On March 3, share your story about the impact of birth defects on you, your child, or someone you know. With our partners, we’ll be urging policymakers, researchers, healthcare providers and citizens across the globe to help improve birth defects surveillance, prevention, care, and research. We need you to join us as well!

Here are two actions you can take to promote the WBDD Buzzday in social media:

  1. Post an announcement on your Facebook profile/event/group, on Twitter, on your blog or discussion group, or on any other social media platform using #WorldBDDay.
    1. Sample post:Join us for World Birth Defects Day on March 3 to spread global awareness to expand birth defects surveillance, prevention, care, and research worldwide #WorldBDDay
    2. Sample tweet: Many birth defects can be prevented! Join us in spreading global awareness for World Birth Defects Day on March 3 #WorldBDDay
  2. Join the Buzzday on Twitter on March 3. Plan to send one or more messages using #WorldBDDay at some point during the day. Retweet both promotional and day-of messages to build the buzz for the day.

We look forward to having you join the conversation. Together, we can make strides to improve knowledge and raise awareness about birth defects prevention!

Appendix 2

 Social Media Posts:

Sample Facebook/ Instagram/ LinkedIn Posts

Birth Defects Messaging:

  • Join us on March 3 to promote World Birth Defects Day to raise awareness of birth defects and expand birth defects surveillance, prevention, care and research worldwide. #WorldBDDay
  • Join us on March 3 for World Birth Defects Day! Lend your voice by signing up for our ThunderClap!
  • World Birth Defects day is March 3. Add the #WorldBDDay frame to your Facebook profile picture to help raise awareness!
  • Birth defects affect around 6 percent of births and result in approximately 8.1million birth defect-related disabilities every year#WorldBDDay
  • Worldwide, an estimated 303,000 newborns die during the first 28 days of life every year from birth defects. #WorldBDDay
  • Birth defects may result in long-term disability, which places a significant burden on individuals, families, healthcare systems and societies. #WorldBDDay
  • The most common and severe birth defects are heart defects, neural tube defects and Down syndrome. #WorldBDDay
  • Although birth defects may be genetic, infectious or environmental in origin, most often it is difficult to identify the exact causes. #WorldBDDay

Prevention Messaging:

  • Many birth defects can be prevented. For example, rubella vaccination, adequate intake of folic acid and iodine, and adequate preconception and prenatal care are keys for prevention.#WorldBDDay
  • Making healthy choices now is not only important for you, but also for the children you may have one day. Not all birth defects can be prevented, but there are steps you can take to help have a healthy pregnancy. Learn more on World Birth Defects Day. #WorldBDDay
  • Moms-to-be: Zika is still a risk in many parts of the world. Protect yourself from #Zika during pregnancy. Take steps to prevent mosquito bites, avoid traveling to areas with risk of Zika, and protect yourself during sex. #WorldBDDay

Sample Tweets (280 characters or less):

Birth Defects Messaging:

  • Join us March 3 to promote World Birth Defects Day to improve prevention & research worldwide
  • Let your voice be heard! Join us March 3 to raise global birth defects awareness by joining our Thunderclap!
  • I’m ready to raise awareness on March 3 because birth defects are common, critical & costly!
  • Join us March 3 for World Birth Defects Day! Help raise awareness by joining our Thunderclap!
  • On March 3, let’s spread the word – every child born with a birth defect has the right to a full & fulfilled life. #WorldBDDay
  • Did you know that 1 in 100 newborns has a heart defect? #WorldBDDay
  • Birth defects affect about 6 percent of births and result in approximately 8.1million birth defect-related disabilities every year.
  • Too few countries have a birth defects surveillance program. Why not all countries? #WorldBDDay
  • Many babies born with birth defects need long-term medical care. Join us in helping each baby have a full &happy life. #WorldBDDay
  • An estimated 303,000 newborns die during the first 28 days of life every year from birth defects. #WorldBDDay

Prevention Messaging:

  • Pregnant or thinking about it? Learn what you can to protect your health &your baby from infections &birth defects#WorldBDDay
  • Zika is still being spread in many parts of the world; pregnant women should continue to protect themselves from Zika infection #WorldBDDay
  • Thinking of having a baby? Get healthy before you get pregnant. See your health care provider for a checkup #WorldBDDay
  • Some infections before and during pregnancy can hurt both you & your developing baby #WorldBDDay
  • Get vaccinated against flu and other diseases for your own health & your future baby#WorldBDDay.
  • Practice good hygiene to prevent infections that may harm you or your baby. Wash your hands often with soap & water. #WorldBDDay
  • Eating healthy foods, staying active & gaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy can help keep you & your baby healthy#WorldBDDay.
  • Mosquitoes spread #Zika and other viruses. Use insect repellent to protect yourself from bites #WorldBDDay

Social Media Tips:

  • Disseminate posts and tweetsthrough your personal accountson social media as well as through your institutional accounts.
  • To be sure that specific friends see your messaging from your account, tag them in the tweet (Twitter) or in the post (Facebook). Do this by typing the symbol@in front of their username in the text.  A drop-down menu will appear that allows you to choose from your list of friends. Friends you tag in your tweet/post will receive a notification. Tagging friends from similar friend-groups in the same message is a great way to get a particular group motivated to help out!
  • Make sure to include hashtag #WorldBDDay in your messaging. Whenever you add #WorldBDDday to your post/tweet, it is immediately indexed by the social network and searchable by other users. Once someone clicks on that hashtag, they’ll be brought to a page that aggregates all of the posts with the same hashtag in real-time.
  • To provide social media viewers with more information about birth defects, add a link from one of the Resources to Support Your Messages and Communication on page 3 of this Toolkit in your post.