As South Africa marks its annual Sobriety Week, the DA in the province says it is “deeply concerned that (alcohol abuse in pregnancy) statistics remain unacceptably high”.
Sobriety Week, the brainchild of the department of trade and industry, is aimed at creating awareness in the general South African public about the dangers of drinking.
The campaign this year – from September 7-14 – also targets youth, women and pregnant women, to warn them about the adverse effects of alcohol abuse.
This year Sobriety Week coincided with the International foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) Day, which was observed internationally on September 9.
Departmental spokesperson, Sidwell Modupe, said the campaign owes its origin to a strategy that was developed by the National Liquor Regulators Forum in 2011. South Africa, more so Northern Cape, has the highest reported incidence of FAS in the world, according to DA’s spokesperson on social development, Karen de Kock.
“In this province, up to 12.2% of babies are born with FAS.
“We are of the view that prevention and treatment programmes could dramatically reduce the incidences of FAS,” said De Kock. She asked society to have compassion for thousands of individuals whose damaged brains led them to crime, homelessness and addiction.
“Few people realise that the severely acting-out teenager, the addicted prostitute, the homeless beggar or the man charged with killing his girlfriend’s baby, may all behave as they do as a result of brain damage caused by their mothers’ drinking during pregnancy.”