International Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) Day
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is caused when the brain of the fetus does not develop properly due to the mother's consumption of alcohol whilst pregnant or even before pregnancy. This affects the child physically and mentally. The damage can include attention deficit disorder, low IQ level, facial deformaties, immune system malfunctioning, memory loss and low birth weight.
"The Western Cape has one of the highest rate of babies born with FAS in the world with 24 000 babies reported to be born in South Africa with FAS per annum, and a lot of awareness still needs to be done about FAS, as many mothers are not aware that their alcohol intake affects their babies in such a negative way," said Minister Uys.
"The Department of Health wants to show their commitment in raising awareness and to educate our mothers about the dangers of their intake of alcohol and that is why our health officials at all levels of care are united in the fight against the dangers of FAS, " Uys said.
Basic Health Messages
- Stop drinking alcohol if you are thinking of falling pregnant.
- Stop drinking alcohol if you are pregnant.
- Whatever the mother drinks so does the unborn baby.
- Alcohol harms unborn babies and results in them needing special care for the rest of their lives because they could suffer from physical defects, abnormal facial anomalies and be mentally challenged.
- Do not fall pregnant if you drink alcohol. Use contraceptives.
The Directorate Communications
Office of the Superintendent of Health, Western Cape
Department of Health
Tel: 021 483 3235
Herman van der Westhuizen
Media Liaison Officer to the Minister of Health
Tel: 021 483 2627