Foetal Alcohol Syndrome: DA Eastern Cape calls for action

SEPTEMBER 10, 2016

In observing World Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) Day on Friday, the Democratic Alliance (DA) Eastern Cape called for a really aggressive campaign to reduce this "blight on our children".

World Foetal Alcohol Syndrome is commemorated each year at nine minutes past nine on the ninth day of the ninth month, to highlight the dangers of mothers, who drink during pregnancy.

"In the Eastern Cape, alcohol abuse during pregnancy is common," said Kobus Botha (MPL), the DA's Eastern Cape Shadow MEC for Social Development.

"According to research commissioned in 2013 by the Eastern Cape Liquor Board, South Africa had the highest rates of FAS in the world, and Nelson Mandela Bay had the highest rate in South Africa."

Botha said, if it were a DA-run province, they would implement educational interventions to assist and help children that have FAS, by developing effective learning and behavioural measures.

"I have submitted legislature questions to the MEC for Social Development, Nancy Sihlwayi. She must outline how effective her department’s advocacy and awareness programmes are in the province, especially in Nelson Mandela Bay," he said.

"Research shows that excessive drinking during pregnancy places the foetus at increased risk for developing FAS, which can interfere with the development of the neurological and physiological functions of the child.

"This has far-reaching and serious implications on the educational, psychosocial and economic well-being of the affected children, their families and the community at large."