Wednesday, September 09, 2020

International FASD Awareness Day

Wednesday marks the 21st annual commemoration of International Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day.

The World Health Organization reports that the prevalence of FASD in the world is projected to be 1,5%. South Africa has the highest reported FASD prevalence rates in the world, with rates as high as 28% in some communities. It is estimated that the country’s overall rate is at least 6%. According to the Foundation for Alcohol Related Research (FARR), all children with FASD have some form of permanent brain damage, presenting as developmental delays, learning and behavioural problems. FASD is incurable.

To show support, the Western Cape’s Social Development MEC, Sharna Fernandez, observed a minute’s silence at 09h08 for affected children and their families, thereafter rang a bell at 09h09. Annually, on the 9th day of the 9th month at 09:09, 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.

Fernandez urged expected mothers to refrain from drinking alcohol during pregnancy: “I encourage all pregnant women to care for their unborn children by not drinking alcohol while pregnant. No amount of alcohol is safe. We all have a responsibility to support pregnant women, and encourage them to abstain from drinking alcohol throughout their pregnancies.’’

“It is critical that we acknowledge the harms caused by alcohol misuse, and that we support our family members, friends, and loved ones who may need help,” says MEC Fernandez.

The City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Zahid Badroodien, says more needs to be done to prevent FASD

‘’The high prevalence rates of FASD must be ascribed to the lack of a comprehensive and multi-sectoral policy.’’

‘’ Appropriate prevention and management efforts continue to pose a challenge for policymakers and service providers. A sustained call for a co-ordinated effort for the prevention and management of FASD has been made by stakeholders,’’ says Badroodien


Done By: Mitchum George


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