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International Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Awareness Day

Today, is International Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Awareness Day.

In light of today, our team at Step Away Rehabilitation Centre felt it was necessary to address the severity of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and the impact it has on our children and country.

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome

What is Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)?

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome occurs when women abuse alcohol during pregnancy. Children exposed to alcohol during pregnancy then develop physical and mental disabilities, which severely affect their capabilities later on in life.

Types of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

  • Foetal Alcohol syndrome (FAS)
  • partial foetal alcohol syndrome
  • alcohol-related birth defects
  • alcohol-related neurodevelopment disorder
  • neurobehavioral disorder associated with prenatal alcohol exposure

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Disabilities

  • Abnormal appearance;
  • Short height;
  • Low body weight;
  • Small head size;
  • Poor coordination;
  • low intelligence;
  • Behaviour problems;
  • Problems with hearing or seeing.

The reality of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome for South Africa

Information sourced from FAS Facts.

  • An estimated 25 000 babies are born with FAS every year.
  • Children do not need to have full FAS to experience significant difficulties due to prenatal exposure to alcohol.
  • South Africa has the highest occurrence of FAS reported in one population anywhere in the world.
  • The prevalence of FAS in countries such as America varies from 0.1 to 0.8%, while in South Africa FAS is as high as 12.2% in particular areas.
  • The occurrence rate of Foetal Alcohol Exposure is far higher than the recorded FAS rate (between three to five times higher).
  • In most industrial nations, FAS is the largest cause of mental retardation.
  • FAS is affects all races and all socio-economic groups.
  • Regardless of quantity, alcohol during pregnancy can cause permanent brain damage.
  • There is no cure for FAS. However, FAS is 100% preventable.

Step Away Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre South Africa

Often, the effects of alcohol abuse do not only effect the abuser but also the people around them. In the case of FAS, the effects of alcohol abuse during pregnancy ruin the lives of millions of innocent children, leaving them permanently impaired.

And the cycle of alcohol abuse is repeated, visiting the abusive habits of the fathers and the mothers on the succeeding generations until we can somehow make a change.

We at Step Away encourage you to spread awareness about the damaging effects of alcohol abuse on our families and our society:

  • Speak out when you see young pregnant women drinking
  • Make young people aware of the dangers of alcohol abuse
  • Help young people find better forms of recreation and more positive activities
  • Educate through schools
  • Become better role models ourselves for the youth
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