World Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Day | Western Cape Government


World Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Day

7 September 2004
The Metro District Health Services of the Western Cape Department of Health is raising awareness of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome on World FAS Day on Thursday 9 September 2004.

World Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) Day is held each year at nine minutes past nine on the ninth day of the ninth month to draw attention to the fact that women should not drink alcohol for nine months whilst pregnant. The alcohol the mother drinks enters the unborn baby's bloodstream causing damage to the foetus. Such damage is permanent and irreversible. FAS children will have physical and intellectual problems.


FAS is represented by a knotted rope symbolizing the umbilical cord, spinal cord, and nervous system. The circle symbolizes the womb, a baby's head, the brain and the earth. The knot represents the people who care around the world. The frayed end shows the result of a child born with FAS.

  • Stop drinking alcohol if you are thinking of falling pregnant.
  • Stop drinking alcohol if you are pregnant.
  • If you cannot stop, drink less and seek professional help.
  • Whatever the mother drinks so does the unborn baby.
  • Alcohol harms unborn babies who will need special care all their lives because they could suffer from physical defects, abnormal facial anomalies and be mentally challenged.
  • Babies will not develop Foetal Alcohol Syndrome if the mother does not drink alcohol.
  • If you drink alcohol do not fall pregnant. Use contraceptives correctly.


Ronnie Jurgens, the Metropole Human Genetics co-ordinator said, "We have learnt that most people are totally unaware that alcohol can cause such serious damage to an unborn baby. Through workshops and discussions we want to convey the basic message that Foetal Alcohol Syndrome can be prevented as long as the mother does not drink alcohol during pregnancy."

South Africa has the highest recorded FAS rate in the world. It is estimated in some regions, with grade 1 children, to be as much as 100.2/1000.

FAS Enquiries:
Ronnie Jurgens
Tel: 021 918 1585

Media Enquiries: 

Maureen McCrea
Tel: 021 918 1708