International Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Day | Western Cape Government


International Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Day

11 September 2023

On 09 September the world observes International Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Day.

When a mother consumes alcohol while pregnant, it can pass to her baby through the placenta. This can result in various mental and physical problems for the baby, called Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. The most severe form of this condition is Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.

There is no cure for FASD, but most importantly it is preventable.

The Western Cape Department of Social Development urges pregnant women to refrain from drinking alcohol.

Provincial Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, says babies with FASD require great love, care, and support, and often parents struggle with the additional responsibilities of caring for a child with FASD.

There are several FASD children and adults at Sivuyile, the Western Cape Department of Social Development’s residential facility for children and adults with severe and profound, physical, and intellectual disabilities. On my last visit to the facility, I met two young siblings with FASD whose mother dropped them off at the facility when they were babies. She could not take care of them. Their heartbreaking story is one of many in the province, where government must step in where caregivers struggle,” says Provincial Minister Fernandez.

The Department has allocated R108.8 million to its Substance Abuse, Prevention, and Rehabilitation Programme. The programme funds 3 organizations for prevention services with a focus on FASD:

- The Foundation for Alcohol Related Research (FARR). Besides their research-related work in the province, FARR also assists the department with implementing community-based awareness and prevention intervention at local clinics in rural areas.

- Early Years Services, based in Athlone, is contracted to equip Early Childhood Development practitioners with skills to provide appropriate intervention and support when dealing with children affected with FASD and present training in areas across the province.

- FASfacts provide services specifically to pregnant woman to increase awareness of the risks related to using alcohol whilst pregnant. This organization is also subsidized with a social worker position to render therapeutic early intervention services to pregnant females in Worcester and surrounding areas.

For information on Substance Abuse Treatment Centres in the province:

Media Enquiries: 

Monique Mortlock-Malgas

Spokesperson to MEC Sharna Fernandez

Department of Social Development

Tel: 084 775 2975