Posted: September 9, 2019
Deputy Minister Gina Calls on Liquor Industry to Enhance Awareness on Dangers of Consuming Alcohol While Pregnant and on Alcohol Abuse
|The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry (the dti), Ms Nomalungelo Gina has called on the liquor industry to enhance awareness on dangers of consuming alcohol while pregnant and on alcohol abuse. Gina was addressing the International Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Day (FASD) and launch of the Sobriety Campaign Week under the theme “# Stay sober 9/9” at the Madiba Banquet Hall in Potchefstroom, North West today.
The event was 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 MEC for Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and Tourism in the North West, Ms Kenetswe Mosenogi also addressed the event.
Gina pleaded with the liquor industry, which includes liquor manufacturers, distributors and retailers to join in the consumer education.
“The industry cannot afford to tip-toe around this scourge. Alcohol is costing this country severely in economic terms as the state budget is running road campaigns, hospital costs of the injured and Road Accident Fund claims. Let us regard alcohol consumption levels in this country as problematic and as a national problem that requires concomitant interventions,” added Gina.
Most importantly, Gina said everyone must stand up and protect the country and children against the effect of alcohol and consuming alcohol while pregnant.
By drinking alcohol while pregnant, Gina said women are saying to the unborn children “I don’t want you to have a bright future and have opportunities”. She further said women must protect their children before they are born and not condemn them by drinking alcohol while pregnant, as they will not have similar opportunities compared to other normal kids.
MEC Mosenogi indicated that the North West Department of Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and Tourism would intensify its intervention programme of addressing the irresponsible trading practice by some of the liquor traders, of selling alcohol to pregnant women, people who are over intoxicated and under age children. She further said those found contravening the legislation will be dealt with as this is affecting our future generation.
“We will throughout this week conduct roadshows in clinics, schools and other public places throughout the districts of the province. Our focus will be on creating awareness on the Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), its impact to communities and measures to be taken in reducing it,” said Mosenogi
The annual FASD is commemorated internationally to enhance awareness on 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).
The day was observed by churches ringing bells 9 times at 09:09, releasing of nine doves and white balloons, as well as lighting of nine candles as sign of hope as well as holding a dialogue of a panel of experts from different stakeholders which included Department of Social Development and South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA). This initiative is aimed at encouraging behavioural change by offering alternatives aimed at empowering communities, including women and children.
Sidwell Medupe-Departmental Spokesperson
Dumisa Seshabela: Departmental Spokesperson