Foetal Al­co­hol Syn­drome can be pre­vented

Pretoria News Weekend - - NEWS - STAFF RE­PORTER

FOETAL Al­co­hol Syn­drome is pre­ventable, and the or­gan­is­ers of FASDay want preg­nant moth­ers to be aware of this.

The first FASDay was cel­e­brated on Septem­ber 9, 1999, to high­light that dur­ing the nine months of preg­nancy, all expectant moth­ers should ab­stain from al­co­hol.

Ac­cord­ing to Fas­facts.org.za, the syn­drome was a char­ac­ter­is­tic pat­tern of phys­i­cal and men­tal birth de­fi­cien­cies, caused by al­co­hol con­sump­tion by the preg­nant mother.

It is the largest cause of men­tal dis­abil­ity in most in­dus­trial na­tions, which con­trib­utes to crime, HIV/Aids and con­tin­ued sub­stance abuse.

“FAS is more than a dis­abil­ity – it’s a so­cial dis­or­der that causes many of the ex­pen­sive prob­lems which plague gov­ern­ments, and all of us,” ac­cord­ing to the web­site.

“On both a fi­nan­cial and per­sonal level, we are all af­fected by the sec­ondary dis­abil­i­ties and con­se­quences of FAS: learning dis­abil­i­ties, early school drop-out, ju­ve­nile delin­quency, poverty, chronic un­em­ploy­ment, sex­ual act­ing-out (promis­cu­ity, teenage and un­wanted preg­nan­cies, pros­ti­tu­tion, sex­ual as­sault, child-mo­lest­ing, rape), Aids, men­tal ill­ness, home­less­ness, vi­o­lence, crimes against prop­erty, theft, mur­der, gang­ster­ism, al­co­holism, drug smug­gling, drug ad­dic­tion and sub­stance abuse.”

Ex­perts said preven­tion and treat­ment pro­grammes could re­duce the risk of Foetal Al­co­hol Syn­drome.

Early di­ag­no­sis and new tech- niques of ther­apy, med­i­cal treat­ment, ed­u­ca­tion and res­i­den­tial fa­cil­i­ties could al­low suf­fer­ers to lead pro­duc­tive lives.

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