International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Day

The importance of not consuming alcohol during pregnancy is highlighted through International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Day.

Page last updated: 09 September 2016

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9 September 2016

The importance of not consuming alcohol during pregnancy is highlighted today through International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Day.

The Minister for Health Sussan Ley said FASD and its life-long debilitating impacts are entirely preventable if alcohol is not consumed during pregnancy.

“Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is the umbrella term for the physical, cognitive, behavioural and neurodevelopmental disabilities that result from exposure of the fetus to maternal alcohol,” Minister Ley said.

“By keeping away from alcohol throughout their pregnancy and while breastfeeding, mothers can give their babies the best start in life. Families and friends can also play an important role in supporting pregnant women by joining them in giving up alcohol during their pregnancy.

“The Australian Government is committed to reducing the harmful effects of alcohol.

“As part of the 2016 Budget, we announced $10.5 million over four years to 2020 to continue the FASD Action Plan, which identified priority areas for action to reduce the impact of the disorder across Australia. This is in addition to $9.2 million previously allocated in 2014.

“Through this investment, Australia’s first FASD Diagnostic Tool was released earlier this year, which assists paediatricians and other clinicians in diagnosing FASD.”

Other projects have included development of best practice models of care for services, promotion and dissemination of resources for health professionals and consumers through the Women Want To Know project and support for National Organisation for Fetal and Spectrum Disorders (NOFASD).

“The new funding will build on the important work we have commenced.”

Minister Ley said evidence-based models of support will also be rolled out for communities battling high FASD prevalence and its effects, with the benchmark being the successful Fitzroy Crossing Marulu Lililwan Project in Western Australia.

“This project has led the way in primary intervention approaches, with significant reductions in alcohol consumption in pregnancy,” Minister Ley said.

“These projects under the National FASD Action Plan provide much needed assistance and support to affected families. However, prevention is really the best way to protect your child from the disorder.”

For more information on the National FASD Action plan and other initiatives to minimise the harmful effects of alcohol please visit the Department of Health website or for help, advice and support about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder please visit the NOFASD website.

Media contact: Randal Markey 0417 318 620

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