Aboriginal women in the remote Fitzroy Valley region in Western Australia’s Kimberley were concerned about high rates of alcohol use in pregnancy and its possible impact on child development. They successfully lobbied for restricted access to alcohol in 2007. In 2009 they developed a strategy for the diagnosis and prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and the support of parents and carers of affected children.
Aboriginal organisations then partnered with research and clinical groups from Sydney to conduct a FASD prevalence study. This commenced in 2010 following extensive community consultation and receipt of community consent. Data from this study are still being collected and will be used by the community to advocate for improved services and new models of health care. Prevention of FASD is important to optimise health and development for future generations of Aboriginal children and to ensure the transfer of culture and language from one generation to the next.