FASD champions and presenters at last year’s awareness workshops in Cherbourg (Photo: DDHHS)

August 30, 2019

Cherbourg Health Service is marking Women’s Health Week with a Family Health Day which aims to raise awareness of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD).

The event will be held on September 4 at  Cherbourg Hospital from 10:00am until 12:30pm.

“We are kickstarting the Family Health Day with a march from the nearby Gundoo Day Care Centre, followed by family health stalls, a free barbecue and educational stalls about FASD,” Community Health Nurse Kylie Thompson said.

“This year we have made our FASD awareness campaign interactive with the hope it will leave a lasting impression.

“We have set up six different stalls where a FASD champion will provide an educational session to community members.

“There will be educational resources available for community members to take home with them.”

FASD is the term used for a range of lifelong physical and neurodevelopment impairments that result from brain damage caused by alcohol exposure before birth.

“Consuming alcohol while pregnant can cause significant damage to the baby in the womb,” Cherbourg Health Service senior psychologist Arvind Ponnapalli said.

“This damage can have lifelong impacts on physical and cognitive abilities, learning and behaviour, as well as on general health and wellbeing.

“The safest option for women and their babies is to not consume alcohol whilst pregnant or trying to fall pregnant. There is no known safe amount of alcohol or safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy.

“Alcohol use during pregnancy is prevalent across different communities and countries. We are raising awareness in our community of FASD to try prevent this public health issue.”

The Cherbourg FASD team has also been actively delivering educational sessions to different groups within the community.

“So far we have presented to different football clubs, developed wallet cards with important local and statewide services, and developed PowerPoint presentations to capture different audiences,” Mr Ponnapalli said.

“It is really important we make our community aware of the health risks associated with consuming alcohol while pregnant.

“We also want our community, particularly women, to feel that there is support out there for them.”

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