The Situation Room – Kudos to federal government for FASD project investments

Mac Olsen,
Editor, Smoky River Express
For once, I find myself giving credit to the federal government for something that should be beneficial to society as a whole.

On May 5, Jane Philpott, the federal health minister, announced that her government would provide $3.6 million for five projects aimed at preventing and screening for use in alcohol pregnancy.

“The use of alcohol during pregnancy can have devastating consequences,” says the minister in a news release from Canada News Wire.
“The funding announced today is an important step toward fostering a national conversation about FASD, and action in a wide range of settings, by a variety of health care providers.”

The five organizations to receive the funding are:
. Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada.
. The Canada FASD Research Network.
. The BC Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health.
. The Nota Bene Consulting Group.
. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Kudos to these organizations for their involvement in this FASD research project.

The more education that can be provided, the better. Frontline workers are especially important in this role, given their contact with women who could put their unborn children at risk.

I still remember an extremely shocking case of FASD in Thompson, Manitoba almost 16 years ago. I was writing a story about a daycare facility’s anniversary. One of the children, a boy, was not even a year old.

One staff member or caregiver was devoted to him specifically because he could not do anything on his own. He had no hand-eye coordination whatsoever. The woman working with him had to do everything for him.

It was absolutely shocking and disheartening to see how bad his case of FASD was. Granted, his was an extreme case and not all children with FASD develop it to that degree.

And I can only hope this boy’s quality of life has improved substantially since then, that he has the necessary supports to lead as normal a life as possible.

Fortunately, we have a resource right here in the Peace Country. The Northern Association for FASD has an office in High Prairie. As per their website, this program “has FASD diagnostic and assessment clinics that offer services (including referrals) to adults and children. Other services include a caregiving support group, FASD support workers, mentoring to pregnant women who use substances, and a resource library.”

Charlene McLay works at the office and she handles FASD diagnostic/support. McLay can be contacted at (780) 523-3699 or by email at

Thus, with research investments like that of the federal government, and services provided by organizations like the Northern Association for FASD, we can promote a better well being for pregnant women, as well as make the lives of children impacted by FASD much better.

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