Message from the Chairperson
It is with great excitement that I take up my appointment as Chair of FASfacts. Since its inception the organisation has been committed to provide sup...
It is with great excitement that I take up my appointment as Chair of FASfacts. Since its inception the organisation has been committed to provide support and information on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and has managed to increase their footprint through training workshops and capacity building initiatives.
The facts about the devastating consequences of prenatal alcohol consumption are shared with school-going learners from Grades 6 – 12, youth, adults and pregnant women.
Recent research on FASD prevention focused on the involvement of women in the development of community based prevention strategies. Our goal is to identify more appropriate stakeholders that could assist us in our work to ensure that we drastically reduce the number of babies born with FASD from 17% to 10% by 2020. Our fundraising strategy for 2015 includes a tangible action plan that will focus on collaboration with different stakeholders in a variety of sectors to ensure gradual eradication of FAS & FASD.
One of the biggest challenges of a non-governmental organisation such as ourselves is that we depend on funding from the government, foundations and individuals who are often out of touch with the extent of the issue we are targeting. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in a child whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects may include physical, mental, behavioural, and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications. FASD’s are mostly invisible, but the debilitating nature of this disability is experienced as a social disorder that causes many of the costly problems that plague governments and our wider society. The term FASD is not intended for use as a clinical diagnosis but rather a description of a spectrum of the consequences of prenatal alcohol exposure (Astley & Clarren 2000). Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a diagnosis for the most pronounced form of prenatal exposure on the spectrum of FASDs. It is indeed from the realization to focus on this extreme form of disability that FASfacts derived its name.
My wish for 2015 is to let us take hands and work together towards a FAS free society. We appeal to all women who are planning on starting a family or those women who are sexually active and not on contraceptives to please refrain from drinking over the holiday season. Remember that FAS & FASD is 100% preventable, but 100% incurable. Speak to the nursing staff at your local clinic or visit http://www.FASfacts.org.za/ for more information.
Have a blessed holiday season.
Dr Lizahn G. Cloete
Chairperson of the Board of Directors: FASfacts