Responsible drinking campaign targets foetal syndrome

2016-11-03 06:00
 Tavern owner Victoria Memani (second from right) with RTF staff Zuko Ngcivana, Yamkela Mpe and Sisa Patani with one of her customers Thando Kahlela (centre).

Tavern owner Victoria Memani (second from right) with RTF staff Zuko Ngcivana, Yamkela Mpe and Sisa Patani with one of her customers Thando Kahlela (centre).

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One of the biggest challenges confronting our society now is FAS (Foetal Alcohol Syndrome).

In a nutshell, it is the damage that can occur to an unborn baby should the mother drink alcohol during pregnancy.

Research into the syndrome shows alarming statistics in South Africa. Prevalence of FAS is at 88/1000 in the studies that have been conducted.

This compares with about 1/1000 in developed countries. The consequences of FAS are far reaching. For a start, it is not reversible. No amount of medication or medical care can cure FAS. The new born carries FAS to their grave.

Symptoms of FAS are slow learning, emotional immaturity, hearing and sight problems and a host of physical abnormalities.

Only medical doctors can diagnose FAS and children with the syndrome need special care. This care is expensive in terms of monetary and emotional support.

The knock-on effect is that the child also affects other learners when at school. It has been reported that up to 25% of learners in the schools where research has been conducted have FAS.

These children are placed in classes with other unaffected children and the result is that the whole class suffers as a result.

An initiative has been launched by RTF (Responsible Trade Facilitators), an organisation that promotes and educates tavern owners and tavern customers in the Cape Peninsula in responsible drinking.

Part of responsible drinking is knowledge about the harm that can be caused by alcohol in pregnant females.

RTF team members engage owners and customers daily to ensure that they are aware of the consequences of alcohol during pregnancy.

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