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Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder centre of excellence launched

News Release
Health

28 February 2012

Moncton (CNB) – A provincial fetal alcohol spectrum disorder centre of excellence is being created through a partnership involving the Department of Health, the two regional health authorities and Family Service Moncton Inc. Health Minister Madeleine Dubé made the announcement today.

“After months of extensive consultation, I am pleased to introduce the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Centre of Excellence, and I encourage the participation of provincial stakeholders in its success,” Dubé said. “Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders affect many aspects of a person’s life – health, education, social interaction and work. Addressing fetal alcohol spectrum disorders requires the collaboration of many stakeholder and community groups, and I am pleased that we have found a solid partner in Family Service Moncton Inc. to help us reach our shared goals.”The centre of excellence will:

● create a bilingual provincial multidisciplinary team to address the prevention, diagnosis and intervention of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders;
● establish a network of regionally based community co-ordinators to help individuals and caregivers pre- and post-diagnosis; and to provide appropriate diagnosis to those affected;
● build provincial capacity, through communities of practice, to work with individuals, families and caregivers affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorders; and
● develop an Aboriginal component to ensure services to First Nations are culturally appropriate.

The provincial government selected Family Service Moncton Inc. as the non-government organization partner after a request for proposal process. This organization will be responsible for supplying the infrastructure to support the co-ordination and service delivery related to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder prevention, diagnosis and intervention for New Brunswick. The regional health authorities will provide some of the required specialized clinical services and expertise.

“After many years of planning and much collaboration, Family Service Moncton is delighted that the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Centre of Excellence is becoming a reality for the families of our province,” said Maurice LeBlanc, chief executive officer, Family Service Moncton Inc. “We are extremely excited to be at a point where we can begin implementing this critical project in collaboration with the Department of Health and the regional health authorities. We are confident that the implementation of this new provincial service will positively impact the health status of New Brunswick children, youth and families touched by fetal alcohol spectrum disorders while lowering the economic and social burdens being placed on the communities of our province.”

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder 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 fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in Canada is not known, but the Public Health Agency of Canada 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 agency recommends that women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should abstain from alcohol.

28-02-12

Media Contact(s)
Danielle Phillips, communications, Department of Health, 506-444-3821.