One of the highlights of producing this 99 Day journey to FASDay is learning new information. There is so much to learn about FASD and there are so many organizations, families, caregivers, and groups sharing information freely. I continue to discover things I did not know through my research for this project. The International Charter on Prevention of FASD was one of the pieces of information new to me, even though it was created in 2013. And while it is almost 10 years old, and I am not sure about any updates or if any country even uses it, I thought it was important for historical reasons. It also provides a basic framework for advocacy and it could be used as a talking point in follow-ups with politicians. What did they do and what are they going to do?
The information below is from the Institute of Health Economics (Alberta, Canada).
Citation for the information which follows: Jonsson E, Salmon A, Warren KR. The international charter on prevention of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder Lancet Global Health 2014
The first international conference on the prevention of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder was held in Edmonton, AB, Canada, on Sept 23–25, 2013. The conference resulted in the production, endorsement, and adoption of an international charter on the prevention of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder by more than 700 people from 35 countries worldwide, including senior government officials, scholars and policymakers, clinicians and other front-line service providers, parents, families, and indigenous people
It is presented to all concerned in the international community as a call for urgent action to prevent fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
The cause and consequences of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder have been known for 40 years, yet the disorder continues to afflict millions of people worldwide — about one in every 100 live births.
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder is preventable. However, one major obstacle to prevention is a lack of awareness of the disorder’s existence and of the risks associated with women drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Opinion-based advice and conflicting messages from different studies about presumed safe amounts of maternal alcohol consumption cause confusion and contribute to a failure to perceive the risk of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
This charter calls on governments to take action to raise awareness of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and the risks of alcohol use during pregnancy.
Governments must promote a consistent, evidence-based message about prevention by supporting the development and circulation of public health information that is clear and consistent: abstaining from alcohol use during pregnancy is the only certain way to prevent fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
This information must be widely available in every country, responsive to local contexts, and designed to allow access to supportive services for pregnant women.
In addition, policies related to the social determinants of health should explicitly address fetal alcohol spectrum disorder; its implications for the individual, family, and society; and how it can be prevented.
Access to reliable and affordable contraceptives is an important concern.
Prevention of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder should be a more prominent role in developing alcohol policies.
The responsibility for the prevention of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder should not be placed on women alone. Prevention is a shared duty.
Actions should focus on information about the risks of alcohol use during pregnancy, access to reliable contraceptives, and help to deal with addiction and abstinence from alcohol during pregnancy. This support includes the provision of timely, compassionate, and competent prenatal care
Research on the incidence and prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder should be coordinated within and between countries to guide prevention efforts and set benchmarks to measure the success of specific approaches to prevention.
Diagnosis of the full range of disorders needs expertise that is not present in most countries. International collaboration in the diagnosis of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder should therefore be encouraged as a major step to building diagnostic capacity and linking this knowledge to primary and secondary prevention.
When more than a million babies are born every year with permanent brain injury from a known and preventable cause, the response should be immediate, determined, sustainable, and effective.
Broad-based policy initiatives and actions at different levels of every society are urgently needed to encourage abstinence from alcohol during pregnancy and to prevent fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
To view the full Edmonton Charter (in English) click here. You can read it online or download your own copy.
Additional Translations of the Edmonton Charter are available:
International Charter on the Prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (Chinese)
Charte Internationale Sur la Prevention de l’Ensemble des Troubles Causes par l’Alcoolisation Foetale (ETCAF)
International Charter on the Prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (Japanese)
Carta Internacional pela preveno dos Transtornos do Espectro Alcolico Fetal
International Charter on the Prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (Russian)
International Charter on the Prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (Swahili)
For more information on the Prevention Conversation quoted on Day 41 of 99 Days to FASDay click here.
2022 Update: CanFASD Prevention Seminars
While it doesn’t appear the International Group that created this charter is active (as a search does not bring up anything more) the Canada FASD Research Network recently announced to its members that it held an International FASD Prevention Seminar Series.
This is what they had to say about it:
As part of the International FASD Prevention Seminar Series, 14 researchers from across the globe came together to share what is known about preventing alcohol use in pregnancy and supporting women’s health. The five-part seminar series focused on destigmatizing considerations, frameworks for FASD prevention, awareness raising, and holistic support and community development.
This seminar series prompted collaboration in ways that historically have only been done at in-person conferences. Each seminar can be viewed in its entirety or individual presentations to provide service providers and leaders across the globe with access to FASD prevention research to inform their work when delivering and funding prevention efforts and share exemplary evidence on FASD prevention in an accessible way.
The five-part seminar series includes:
1. Destigmatizing considerations
Patrick Corrigan (USA) and Dr. John Aspler (Canada) describe stigma and its implications for FASD prevention efforts.
2. Frameworks for FASD Prevention
Nancy Poole (Canada) describes the four-part model of FASD prevention.
Kelly Gonzales and the Future Generations Collaborative (USA) share their work on FASD prevention.
Babatope Adebiyi (South Africa) summarizes how South Africa developed FASD prevention guidelines.
3. Raising Awareness and Community Development Work
Mathew Parackal (New Zealand) describes a health communication strategy to communicate the harms of alcohol use during pregnancy.
Victoria Bailey (Canada) shares lessons from the ThinkFASD prevention campaign.
Rhonda Romero, Shandiin Armao and Dr. Annika Montag (USA) describe efforts to prevent FASD in a reservation-based Indigenous community.
4. Brief intervention and support
Annika Montag (USA) shares research on FASD prevention among reservation-based Indigenous populations.
Jessica Hanson (USA) describes adaptations to the Project CHOICES for the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
Lindsay Wolfson (Canada) and Vivian Lyall (Australia) explore how to translate perceptions of alcohol use in pregnancy into successful interventions.
5. Holistic Support during Pregnancy and Postpartum
Deborah Rutman and Carol Hubberstey (Canada) describe outcomes from eight holistic wraparound programs supporting for pregnant and parenting women who use substances.
Mary Motz shares findings from the Breaking the Cycle multiservice program for pregnant and parenting women who use substances and their children.
You can access the webinars on the CanFASD YouTube Channel.
Come back tomorrow for the next stop on our 99 day journey.