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Thousands hook up to folate satellite telecast



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Australia's Commonwealth Departme...es. Media Release - Dr Wooldridg

Media Release Dr Michael Wooldridge

MW 120/97 28 October, 1997

THOUSANDS HOOK UP TO FOLATE SATELLITE TELECAST

Thousands o f health professionals will gather in hundreds o f sites across Australia tonight to learn how folate and folic acid can help reduce the risk o f spina bifida, in a national satellite link-up organised by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.

A 10-minute segment featuring folate will be introduced by Health and Family Services Minister, Dr Michael Wooldridge.

"I am pleased to support a program which details the critical link between folate and neural tube defects, such as spina bifida," D r Wooldridge said.

"I am excited by the advances in technology and medicine which are making health care more accessible and bringing important preventative health messages such as this to Australians wherever they live.

"Health professionals, particularly pharmacists, can be instrumental in helping Australian women avoid the tragedy of having a spina bifida-affected baby," he said.

Dr Wooldridge commended the Pharmaceutical Society o f Australia for taking a pro-active role in spreading the folate message to all Australian women.

"We know that folate can prevent up to two-thirds of neural tube defects if women boost their intake in the months before and after conception," Dr Wooldridge said.

"Currently only 6 to 7 per cent o f women planning a pregnancy take added folate or folic acid tablets. With the help o f Australia's pharmacists and health professionals, we hope to increase this to at least 60 to 70 per cent in the next two years," he said.

Dr Wooldridge congratulated the estimated 3000 pharmacists and health professionals in 450 urban, rural and remote locations around Australia for participating in this evening's education session.

A special education support kit, for distribution to all pharmacists and health professionals participating in the PSA's satellite telecast, will provide pharmacists with fluorescent yellow labels to attach to contraceptive packets carrying the reminder: 'Thinking o f having a baby? Ask your pharmacist about FOLATE.'

Media Contact:

Bill Royce, Dr Wooldridge's office (02) 6277 7220 Mary Shiers, Department o f Health & Family Services (02) 6289 7005

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Last updated 11/28/97 09:32:10 by Dirk Nissen

1 o f 1 01/08/98 14:36:54