No unborn baby deserves to be fed alcohol – Bogopane-Zulu

Social Development Deputy-Minister, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, is today taking the 9-9-9 Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) campaign to Delmas in Mpumalanga to educate about the dangers of consuming alcohol while pregnant.

The 9-9-9 Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) is a campaign which unfolds for a period of nine consecutive days, in nine provinces under the leadership of the Deputy Minister, to encourage community members and pregnant women to be responsible for their unborn babies during pregnancy.

On Tuesday, Bogopane-Zulu and her team took the 9-9-9 FASD campaign to the community of Thabazimbi, in Limpopo Province.

Speaking to community members who were in attendance, Bogopane-Zulu said that FASD is a hundred percent preventable.

“When you want a baby, make a right choice and stay away from taking alcohol when you are pregnant. Not any drop of alcohol is safe for your unborn baby. All we need to do as a society is to help and support expecting mothers to prevent disabilities,” Bogopane-Zulu said.

She added that South Africa is already known to have a drinking problem, with the country ranking among some of the worst in the world for its levels of alcohol consumption.

During the dialogues yesterday, it was highlighted that Thabanzimbi had a culture of drinking irresponsibly, binge drinking by all age groups which included pregnant women.

“While poverty and unemployment were raised as a concern, women still admitted to drinking, resorting to brewing their own alcohol concoction known as ‘gemmer’ when they could not afford to buy alcohol,” the Deputy-Minister said.

She said that experts have previously warned South Africans about the dangers associated with these homemade concoctions.

Sarah Mawe, a home-based care worker, spoke of how she witnessed women who brewed their own “gemmer” and when they were advised about the dangers of drinking alcohol while pregnant, they would simply ask: “whose child is this? And how is it any of your concern?”

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), South Africa has the highest reported FASD prevalence rates high as 28% in some communities.

It is estimated that the country’s overall rate is at least at 6%.

Bogopane-Zulu added that there is no specific treatment for alcohol related disorders other than to avoid alcoholic beverages during pregnancy.

Source: South African Government News Agency