Foetal Alcohol syndrome (FAS) in the Eastern Cape is not decreasing, causing a major concern to authorities.
As the country celebrates Women Rights month, the Eastern Cape Liquor board has warned that if challenges facing women are not dealt with, they will continue to be victims of the problems affecting them.
Foetal Alcohol Syndrome affects three million people in the country and the Eastern Cape has the second highest number of people affected by the condition.
The Syndrome is brought about by pregnant women consuming alcohol causing physiological deficiencies in the unborn child.
Twenty four year old Zintle Beleni, has just given birth to a baby boy. She says during the first stages of her pregnancy she consumed a lot of alcohol, as she was under a lot of stress. Fortunately for her and the child, she stopped before the baby was affected.
She says she did not know about the effects of drinking alcohol during pregnancy up until she met the officials who told her about the problems, and didn’t drank alcohol after that.
Children affected by FAS may either have an abnormal appearance, small head size, short height or low intelligence among others afflictions.
“This is very dangerous – and what makes it dangerous is that it is irreversible, and once a child gets it, it’s not cured… that’s why we say the best thing for women is to stop drinking – and it doesn’t matter how much quantity you take,” said Eastern Cape Liquor Board Spokesperson, Mgwebi Msiya.
The Liquor board is fighting the problem through education. Practitioners are working throughout the province to make expectant mothers aware of the dangers of drinking.