Clinic set to tackle fetal alcohol spectrum disorder

AUSTRALIA’S first screening and diagnostic service for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) will be developed in Sydney.

The Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation (AER Foundation) last week announced $500,000 in charitable donations to address research gaps in FASD management, including the screening service at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

Elizabeth Elliott, professor of paediatrics and child health at the hospital, said at least 2% of babies born annually in Australia have FASD.

“That’s likely a significant underestimate because doctors aren’t recognising it and aren’t asking women about alcohol use in pregnancy,” she said.

An AER Foundation community poll found only 42% of women who have had a pregnancy recalled having a healthcare professional raise with them the harms associated with drinking alcohol.

The planned clinic would facilitate the assessment, diagnosis