Posted: September 3, 2019
Deputy Minister Gina and MEC Mosenogi to Address the International Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day in Potchefstroom, North West
|The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Nomalungelo Gina and the MEC for Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and Tourism in the North West, Ms Kenetswe Mosenogi will address the International Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Day (FASD) and launch of the Sobriety Campaign Week at the Madiba Banquet Hall in Potchefstroom, North West on 9 September 2019. The event will be hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) in partnership with the North West Department of Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and Tourism
The aim of the event is to intensify awareness and educate young people and women of child bearing age in particular on the harmful effects of alcohol abuse during pregnancy FASD will be observed under the theme Stay Sober 9/9.
The annual FASD is commemorated internationally to enhance awareness of the dangers of consuming alcohol while pregnant. The event is part of the Sobriety Campaign whose purpose is to raise awareness on the high-risk behavioural activities related to alcohol abuse such as violence, risky sexual activities, and the spread of HIV/AIDS, and encourage behavioural change by offering alternatives in the form of government services aimed at empowering communities, including women and children.
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are a group of conditions that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. Problems may include an abnormal appearance, short height, low body weight, small head size, poor coordination, low intelligence, behavioral problems, and problems with hearing and sight. The most severe form of the condition is known as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).
According to the Deputy Minister Gina, alcohol consumption in South Africa is associated with party spirit and celebrations. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the annual liquor consumption by South Africans amounts to 7.81 litres of pure alcohol per person. This rate of consumption ranks South Africa 52nd on a list of 191 countries. South Africa is estimated to have alcohol consumption at a score of 4 which is riskier in a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being least risky and 5 being most risky.
Against this background, Gina says it therefore significant to strengthen education and awareness around alcohol abuse and drinking especially while pregnant. Most importantly, she says, partnerships between government, private sector and communities are also vital and can contribute to the decrease of alcohol consumption in South Africa.
“A research has been conducted in areas of known or suspected high alcohol consumption by women. Northern Cape remains a concern as it is having the highest prevalence of FAS. Latest reports indicate that FASD is spreading to other regions in the country with Wolmaranstad and Potchefstroom taking the lead in the North West,” says Gina.
MEC Mosenogi says the North West province is intensifying its intervention programmes of addressing the challenge of irresponsible trading practised by some of the liquor outlets of selling liquor to pregnant women, people who are overly intoxicated and selling liquor to people under the age of eighteen.
“It is important that all relevant stakeholders work together to minimise the number of children affected by FAS as this become costly to government. As a province we continue to conduct educational programmes especially in clinics and schools. In addition to that we will make sure that our liquor traders refrain from selling alcohol to underage people and visibly pregnant women,” adds Mosenogi.
The day will be observed by churches ringing bells 9 times at 09:09, as well as holding a dialogue of a panel of experts from different stakeholders which includes Departments of Health, and Social Development. This initiative seeks to encourage behavioural change by offering alternatives aimed at empowering communities, including women and children.
Dumisa Seshabela: Departmental Spokesperson