South Africa: Foetal Alcohol Syndrome - 'Not Enough Support for Rural Women'


With high levels of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome in the Western Cape's rural areas, questions were raised on Tuesday about what the provincial Department of Social Development was doing to help vulnerable women and communities.

The Department of Social Development in the Western Cape is "not doing enough" to combat Foetal Alcohol Syndrome in the province, says Economic Freedom Fighters Member of the Provincial Parliament Nosipho Makamba-Botya.

Makamba-Botya was speaking during the annual report briefing by the Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) in the provincial legislature on Tuesday, questioning what support there was for rural women who are vulnerable to alcohol abuse, which can cause Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) in children.

FAS is a disorder caused by the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy, which damages the foetus's brain, resulting in behavioural and intellectual challenges.

As one of the provinces with a large agricultural and viticultural economy, and with remnants of the "dop system", the Western Cape has a FAS problem.

The DSD's website states that, "South Africa has the highest reported occurrence of FAS in the world. In the West Coast, 64 children per 1,000 are affected (6.42%), making it one of the highest in the world. Research shows...

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