Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
Prevention and Health Promotion Resources

developedThe FASD Project team visiting and learning from OVAHS staff. [L to R] Jenni Rogers, Jane Cooper, Hayley Williams, Bev Russ, Annie Wilson, Christine Armit.

NACCHO has partnered with Menzies School of Health Research and the Telethon Kids Institute (TKI) to develop and implement a flexible, modular package of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Prevention and Health Promotion Resources (FPHPR) to reduce the impacts of FASD on the Aboriginal population.

The package of resources is based on the model developed by the Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Service (OVAHS). The package incorporates FASD education modules targeting five key groups:

  • Pregnant women using New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services (NDMBS) antenatal services, and their partners and families;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women of childbearing age;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander grandmothers;
  • NDMBS staff who provide antenatal care; and
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.

A series of FASD workshops will be held in each State and Territory across the country in 2016. A train-the-trainer approach will be used to enable the participating NDMBS sites to tailor the acquired knowledge and resource package to individual Service and community needs. This will take into consideration the available workforce, staff training and development needs, data and services, systems capacity and stage of readiness for implementation.

Workshop participants will be upskilled in brief intervention, motivational interviewing and knowledge and awareness of FASD. The training also aims to assist participants with ways of designing localised strategies to prevent FASD which can be tailored to suit the needs of each community.

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can have devastating consequences for the unborn child which can last a lifetime. Conditions common to FASD may include learning difficulties, impulsiveness, and difficulty relating actions to consequences, social relationships, attention/hyperactivity, poor memory, developmental delays and major organ damage.

Aboriginal women are more likely than non-Aboriginal women to consume alcohol in pregnancy at harmful levels. Alcohol use in pregnancy is a significant risk factor for stillbirths, infant mortality and intellectual disability in children, particularly in the Aboriginal population.

Health Professionals asking and advising women of childbearing age about the consequences of alcohol consumption in pregnancy is an essential strategy in preventing FASD.

The FPHPR Project has been designed for the 85 New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services (NDMBS) sites. NDMBS sites are located in rural, remote and urban regions across the country and aim to increase access to child and maternal health care for Aboriginal women and their families. Of the 85 sites, 52 are NACCHO Member Services.

The intended outcome of the initiative is for staff within the NDMBS sites to be supported and sufficiently trained in FASD prevention. With support, NDMBS staff will be able to develop and implement FASD strategies within their services and communities to prevent the impact of FASD on the Aboriginal population.

Activities conducted include:

  • FASD Prevention and Health Promotion Resources Project Protocol developed;
  • 4 project teams established;
  • Steering Group Established;
  • Expert Advisory Group Established;
  • Site visit to Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Service (OVAHS);
  • Engagement with the 85 New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services sites across the country;
  • Draft FASD resource package – developed;
  • FASD training package developed for NDMBS sites; and
  • Train-the-trainer workshops delivered to participating NDMBS sites across the country.