OTTAWA, May 5, 2017 /CNW/ – Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can result in a baby being born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), which includes a range of physical, mental or behavioural difficulties that last a lifetime. No amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy.
Today, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, announced $3.6 million in federal funding for five projects aimed at preventing and screening for alcohol use in pregnancy. Project leads will work with medical and allied health professionals, social service providers and researchers to equip frontline care providers with the tools, information and best practices they need to help screen, counsel and treat women at risk of using alcohol during pregnancy.
The funding will also improve surveillance of FASD in Canada to better identify individuals and population groups most in need of support, help direct future prevention and diagnostic services, and improve care for those living with FASD.
There is no single solution to prevent FASD and that is why the Government of Canada is investing in education, prevention and screening, as well as partnering with internationally recognized experts, to help reduce the incidence of FASD.
- FASD is the leading known cause of preventable developmental disability in Canada.
- While the disorder is present from birth, people are often not diagnosed with FASD until later in life when symptoms related to learning challenges and social problems emerge.
- A number of conditions, such as hearing loss, visual impairment and conduct disorder, have been found to occur more frequently among individuals with FASD than in the general population.
- While the exact prevalence of FASD in Canada is not known, the Public Health Agency of Canada estimates that one in every 100 Canadians is affected.
“The use of alcohol during pregnancy during pregnancy can have devastating consequences. The funding announced today is an important step toward fostering a national conversation about FASD, and action in a wide range of settings, by a variety of health care providers.”
The Honourable Jane Philpott, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health
“Alcohol is not harmless. It is a mind-altering drug and there are health risks associated with drinking, especially during pregnancy.”
Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada