Thursday, September 09, 2021

International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day

Thursday is International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day.

According to the World Health Organization, South Africa has the highest reported FASD prevalence rates in the world.

Each year on the 9th day of the 9th month at 9 minutes past 9, bells are rung across the world to raise awareness about FASD, and the irreversible damage to unborn children caused by the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy.

The Western Cape's Social Development MEC, Sharna Fernandez joined hands with the Foundation of Alcohol Related Research (FARR).

FARR is a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) that is dedicated to building positive futures in South African communities by significantly reducing birth defects caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy. The focus of their major activities is on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).

FASD is caused when a pregnant woman consumes alcohol during pregnancy. FARR notes that alcohol consumption during pregnancy is the leading cause of preventable intellectual disability in the world. It can lead to severe and lifelong disabilities collectively referred to as FASD. 

The symbolism of the number 9 is significant, as a woman is ordinarily pregnant for nine months; hence the ringing of a school, church or handbell on the 9th day of the 9th month at 09:09, as a call to action.

“To every pregnant woman out there, please avoid alcohol during your pregnancy to ensure that when it comes to your unborn child’s health - you will be giving them a healthy start to their future,’’ said MEC Fernandez.

‘’I wish to remind all those women who are struggling to stay away from alcohol no matter how hard they try that we are here to help,” added Fernandez.

In South Africa, research completed by (FARR) in five of the nine provinces reports rates as high as 282/1000 live births in some communities in the Northern Cape Province. 

 The Western Cape Province has rates as high as 250/1000 live births (25%) (FRASER-SA report).



Done By: Mitchum George


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