- Global News (59)
It’s important to bring attention to the risks of prenatal exposure to alcohol: Guillemard
A private member’s bill introduced by Sarah Guillemard, MLA for Fort Richmond, to establish a day for awareness of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) passed second reading today in the Legislative Assembly. Bill 230, the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day Act, proposes that Sept. 9 every year be designated as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day throughout Manitoba.
“It’s very important to bring attention to the risks of prenatal exposure to alcohol, and to raise awareness of the impact of FASD on individuals and communities,” said Guillemard. “FASD is the leading known cause of preventable developmental disabilities in Canada, with effects including physical, mental, behavioural and learning difficulties.”
FASD is a neurodevelopmental disorder caused by prenatal alcohol exposure. Studies suggest close to four per cent of Canadians live with FASD, and it’s estimated at least 140 children in Manitoba are born affected by FASD every year. However, the challenges of those with FASD are often mistaken for other disorders. School is usually the first place where children with complex learning challenges are identified.
Manitoba has shown global leadership on FASD, with researchers teaming with counterparts in Israel to form the Canada-Israel International Fetal Alcohol Consortium. In addition, as part of the Provincial FASD Strategy, Healthy Child Manitoba piloted the Key Worker Program delivered by a member of the FASD team in the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority.
The direct and indirect costs to society of FASD in Canada are estimated at between $4 billion and $6.2 billion per year.
International FASD Awareness Day is held each year on Sept. 9, representing the ninth day of the ninth month of the year to symbolize the nine months of pregnancy.