Award of Excellence – ReachAnother: Fortifying the Future (UK)

Title: ReachAnother: Fortifying the Future
Runtime: 6 min
Country: UK
Director: Leah Llewellyn
Placement: Award of Excellence
Competition: June, 2023

Synopsis: ReachAnother: Fortifying the Future, is narrated by our dearly departed friend and founder of the ReachAnother Foundation Dr. (Dick) Marinus Koning MD FACS. This campaign film illustrates the legacy of Dr. Koning’s work in Ethiopia for babies born with hydrocephalus and spina-bifida and the active role ReachAnother is taking to prevent these birth defects by fortifying salt with folic acid. 

Known in Ethiopia as the “NGO of the Twins,” the ReachAnother Foundation, founded in 2009 in the United States and the Netherlands, works closely with Ethiopian partners to give children born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus the opportunity to grow up to live happy, healthy lives. They have provided over 10,000 live saving surgeries and are establishing eight Centres of Excellence in Paediatric Neurosurgery to provide multidisciplinary and continuous care across the country.

In 2018, ReachAnother were invited to present a prevention solution to the Ethiopia government which, once implemented, the folic acid food fortification program will decrease the incidence of neural tube defects by up to 90%. As flour is not part of a traditional Ethiopian diet, salt fortification will ensure that folic acid reaches the overall population. “What was once unimaginable is now undeniable” (Dr. Dick Koning: 2021). 

44,000 pregnancies each year in Ethiopia are impacted by neural tube defects.