July 21, 2010
MONCTON (CNB) - A provincial fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) centre of excellence is being created through a partnership involving the Department of Health, the two regional health authorities (RHAs) and a non-profit, non-government organization (NGO). Health Minister Mary Schryer made the announcement today.
"After reviewing potential models and engaging in extensive consultation with provincial stakeholders, it was recommended that the Government of New Brunswick support the creation of a provincial FASD centre of excellence," said Schryer. "FASD affects many aspects of a person's life - health, education, social interaction and work. Efforts to address FASD require the collaboration of many stakeholder and community groups, and I am pleased that we have so many partners as we move ahead together."
The proposed mission of the centre of excellence is:
The provincial government will select the NGO partner. This organization will be responsible for supplying the infrastructure to support the co-ordination and service delivery related to FASD prevention, diagnosis and intervention for New Brunswick. The RHAs will be responsible for providing some of the required specialized clinical services and expertise.
FASD is an umbrella term for a range of effects that may occur in a child if his or her birthmother consumed alcohol during pregnancy. Effects may range from physical disabilities, brain and central nervous system disabilities and behavioural problems.
A precise number of persons with FASD in Canada is not known, but the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) estimates that nine babies in 1,000 have this condition. Due to limited awareness and diagnostic capacity in Canada, this number may be higher. The PHAC recommends that women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should abstain from alcohol.
MEDIA CONTACT: Danielle Phillips, communications, Department of Health, 506-444-3821.