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Video courtesy of the Office of the Mayor, Hawaii County
Mayor Billy Kenoi helped turn a spotlight on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome during a presentation Friday at West Hawaii Civic Center.
International Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Awareness Day is worldwide movement to raise awareness about the largest known, entirely preventable, cause of mental retardation and developmental disabilities.
“If we can get to our mothers before the last trimester, we can prevent fetal alcohol syndrome,” Kenoi said in his opening message.
FAS Awareness Day was recognized with bell-ringing at 9:09 a.m. and flags were on display, representing the number of positive screens to date. The Hawaii CRT team has been working with local healthcare providers to screen pregnant women to identify alcohol use during pregnancy.
A positive screen is a mother who admits to using substances during their pregnancy.
“These screens allow the provider the opportunity to offer these women a brief intervention, or short education about the risks associated with their behavior. We count it as a success if we even help one woman and change the outcome for her baby,” said Sharon Bechler, CRT Hawaii State Director.
The flags represented the critical work that still needs to be done in educating the island’s population about the dangers of alcohol use during pregnancy.
The Big Island program was hosted by the Children’s Research Triangle in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office.