In 2005, the 42-year-old actor’s daughter Sophie was diagnosed with spina bifida at birth.
In 2008 Kodjoe and his wife Nicole Ari Parker launched Sophie’s Voice Foundation to raise awareness about the condition, secure funding for research and promote a healthy lifestyle.
According to the association, spina bifida is a congenital defect where some of the bones that make up the unborn baby’s spinal column do not join together properly. This leaves an opening in the spine, usually in the lower part of the back.
It can lead to a loss of sensation, as well as bladder, bowel control and mobility problems.
Kodjoe, in Cape Town to film a Deon Meyer thriller, said he was “very impressed” with the facilities at the Spinal Defects Clinic at the Red Cross Memorial Children’s Hospital.
He lauded the fact that the clinic’s team included neurologists, urologists, orthopaedic surgeons, pediatricians and physical therapists, saying this set it apart from many other similar hospitals he had visited.
“For spina bifida patients… where every case is different it is important to have everybody available.”
Kodjoe said he had discussed with health officials and the association the need to add folic acid – or vitamin B – to the diet of expectant mothers.
According to the association, there was “overwhelming evidence” that if women took enough folic acid their risk of having a baby with spina bifida was “substantially” reduced.
Folic acid can be added to bread flour and maize.
”People ingest bread, rice, maize on a daily basis, so why not push for fortification that protects the mother and the unborn child?”
Provincial Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo, who talked with members of the association and Kodjoe for an hour, said it was vital the word got out about what caused spinal bifida.
The association’s Zubeida Toefy said she was certain Kodjoe’s star power would help.
Her organisation runs outreach programmes in Paarl, Mitchells Plain and Atlantis.
She said more were planned for Grassy Park and Khayelitisha later in the year.
Cape Town - Hollywood actor Boris Kodjoe on Friday visited the Red Cross Memorial Children’s Hospital to lend his support in the fight against spina bifida, a birth defect involving the incomplete development of a baby’s spinal cord.
Kodjoe, star of TV series Soul Food and Real Husbands of Hollywood, was hosted by the Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus South Africa.