Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane on Tuessday reassured the public that student l.
FASfacts is urging all South Africans to take drastic steps to combat foetal alcohol syndrome .
The non-governmental orga- nisation says about 25000 babies are born with the disability in South Africa each year, apparently the highest reported incidence of FAS in the world.
FASfacts chief executive officer Francois Grobbelaar says FAS is one of the main causes of severe mental disabilities and stunted physical growth in babies, adding: "Drastic steps need to be taken to curb and eventually eradicate this perfectly preventable disability."
As a direct community response, the youth in Northern Cape are being challenged to confront the consequences of alcohol abuse while honing their research and creative writing skills.
The challenge is being made through the newly launched Northern Cape Essay Competition on FAS, which is spearheaded by Kimberley Hospital's human genetics unit and the Northern Cape health department.
Northern Cape has thehighest highest prevalence of FAS in South Africa, particularly in the town of De Aar.
Open to high school pupils in grades 10 to 12, the competition is supported by Sowetan and the Aggrey Klaaste Nation-Building Foundation.
Essays of not more than 1000 words should be written on one of the following topics:
lwhat is FAS, its causes, symptoms and complications?
l what can we do to prevent it?
l what is the effect of the disability on the economy of South Africa? or
l is teenage pregnancy a contributing factor to FAS, and why?
Enclose your name and surname, grade, and age; name, address and telephone numbers of your school; your home address and home telephone number, or a parent or guardian's cellphone number.
Your school's stamp is also needed. Send entries to: The Northern Cape Schools Essay Competition on FAS, c/oS Peterson, Kimberley Hospital, Private Bag X 5021, Kimberley, 8300.