Day 41 of 99 Days to FASDay: Int’l Charter on FASD Prevention


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.

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 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

Earth in our hands

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 lack of awareness of the disorder’s existence and of 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: to abstain 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 given a larger role in the development of alcohol policies.

The responsibility for 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 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 diagnosis of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder should therefore be encouraged as a major step to build diagnostic capacity and link 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, 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 on-line or download your own copy.

Additional Translations of the Edmonton Charter are available:

For more information on the Prevention Conversation quoted in Day 41 of 99 Days to FASDay click here.

Come back tomorrow for another interesting tip, quote or fact on our:

99 Days to 9.9

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