Foetal Alcohol Syndrome: Even small amounts of alcohol can do damage

Today is International Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day and the message from specialists is that no quantity of alcohol is protected throughout being pregnant.

CEO of the Foundation for Alcohol Related Research South Africa (FARRSA), Dr Leana Olivier, informed Health-e News that Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), a group of critical and lifelong disabilities, can solely be brought on by alcohol publicity throughout being pregnant and that even small amounts of alcohol have the potential to trigger hurt to a foetus.

“Alcohol is a teratogen poisonous substance causing damage to the developing cells of the foetus. We cannot say with any certainty that there is an amount of alcohol that is risk-free. Even if a baby is born without FASD, we cannot be sure that there was not still damage done to critical brain functions. This is why our message is that no alcohol is safe at any time during pregnancy,” she mentioned.

According to FARRSA, alcohol publicity throughout being pregnant is the main trigger of preventable mental incapacity on this planet and results in FASD.

The United States’ Centre for Disease Control famous that FASD is preventable and that anybody who is aware of somebody who would possibly develop into pregnant can be half of the answer.

SA has highest charges on this planet

It is particularly essential to create consciousness for FASD in South Africa as a result of the nation has the very best charges of the situation on this planet.

Research performed by FARRSA in 5 provinces discovered charges of FASD as excessive as 282 per 1000 dwell births in some Northern Cape communities. While the Northern Cape has the very best charges of FASD within the nation, there are some alarmingly excessive charges within the Western Cape too. In some areas on this province, charges of FASD had been as excessive as 250 per 1000 dwell births which accounts for 25% of the full of infants born.

To put this in context, based on the World Health Organisation, the worldwide FASD prevalence rate is roughly 15 per 1000 dwell births.

“Knowing the difficulties faced by individuals with FASD and their caregivers it is abundantly clear that all must work together to prevent FASD births and to support those with FASD,” famous a FARRSA press launch.

“And another thing that I would like to emphasise is that it doesn’t matter what type of alcoholic drink you drink, any type of alcohol can cause damage. A woman does not have to be an alcoholic to have a child with FASD. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause damage,” mentioned Olivier.

Social media marketing campaign for FASD Day

The organisation, which has been actively doing FASD prevalence research in 5 provinces since 1997, has deliberate a social media drive to lift consciousness at the moment.

“The more we spread this massage the better. If everyone shares this message, we can get love and support for caregivers and children trending. You can write your massage on your social media wall or WhatsApp status, or any other platforms, be creative about it, and don’t forget to us the hashtag #FASDUthandoNethemba #FASDLoveHope,” mentioned Olivier.

FARRSA additionally gives consciousness, prevention and coaching programmes at 11 websites.

The essential targets of these interventions are to extend the information about alcohol hurt amongst group members and repair suppliers resembling well being professionals, social staff and educators plus to supply them with the required expertise to deal with the multitude of issues brought on by alcohol abuse of their communities.

Olivier mentioned a mom could not have identified that she was pregnant and should have uncovered the foetus to alcohol, or a mom could have a substance use drawback and be hooked on alcohol.

“Stepping up and helping the mother to stop using alcohol at the earliest possible moment, or to help her strictly limit her alcohol consumption, will improve on the birth outcomes of the baby,” she mentioned.

Social Development launches marketing campaign

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Social Development, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, launched a 9-9-9 Foetal Alcohol Syndrome marketing campaign on 1 September. Her goal was to teach communities in regards to the risks related to alcohol consuming whereas pregnant and breastfeeding.

Speaking on Jozi FM Bogopane-Zulu mentioned the 9-9-9 marketing campaign will run all through the 9 consecutive days ending on the ninth of September.

“This is the time that we have decided we are going to do the 9 days over 9 provinces to presenting the 9 months of pregnancy on the 9th month. We try to dedicate these days to talk with pregnant women in particular because of a high level of children born with FASD and what is sad is that for the past 30 years South Africa is leading in the world of children born with FASD. That is why we have to also continue with this campaign, even this year as it has been running for 3 years,” she mentioned.

“We do an interactive dialogue wherein various sectors comprising of, among others, pregnant women themselves, youth, parents of children with FAS disorder, tavern and shebeen owners and traditional leaders as well as community members where they all exchange views, challenges and solutions on how must we prevent FASD and its impact on children,” mentioned Bogopane-Zulu. – Health-e News

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