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Never drink alcohol when you are pregnant

A notorious symptom of poverty in South Africa is foetal alcohol syndrome. The Association for Alcohol Responsibility and Education, (Aware) uses Awareness Day to tell everyone to stand against alcohol abuse.

We all experience the terrible price poverty places on Mzansi. But the cost is more than just a lack of decent employment, poor service delivery and forever being asked to tighten our belts, it damages people physically with malnutrition and poison.

Ingrid Louw, CEO of Aware, said: “Alcohol abuse is destroying our country’s future.“Women, don’t drink alcohol when pregnant or planning to have a baby. The only healthy amount of alcohol is no alcohol.”

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Research by the Foundation shows that about six million people in South Africa are affected by foetal alcohol syndrome. Of that six million, three million are permanently damaged and crippled.

Embryos exposed to alcohol develop physical, mental and emotional problems. While the problems may be hidden, they manifest over time.

Foetal alcohol syndrome signs

Retarded growth: Babies with the condition are very small for their age, before or after birth.

Common physical signs: These may include a small head, a smooth ridge between the upper lip and nose, small but wide apart eyes, a very thin upper lip as well as deformed limbs or fingers.

Common mental problems: Foetal alcohol syndrome often results in lifelong problems such as severe learning disabilities, physical co-ordination problems, relationship problems and antisocial behaviour.

“This is not just the fault of the mother, it is a family and community problem. They all have a part to play. All children born with the disorder are a community issue so we need to stand together on this issue.”

For more information on the foetal alcohol syndrome, visit www.aware.org.za/fetal-alcohol-syndrome/

Source: Daily Sun

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