Alcohol warning for pregnant women

FATAL DOSE: When you drink alcohol your unborn child drinks it too
FATAL DOSE: When you drink alcohol your unborn child drinks it too

A CAPE Town forensic science company has partnered with a UK laboratory to combat foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).

The Tripelo and Trimega Laboratories will identify communities with high levels of foetal alcohol syndrome from November.

It is estimated that South Africa has 4 000 reported new cases of FAS every year, the highest in the world.

The majority of these cases are in Northern Cape and Western Cape.

"The key to preventing the occurrence of FAS is to increase public awareness through outreach and education," Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini said.

"This is particularly important in vulnerable communities where there is often a lack of information on the dangers of using alcohol during pregnancy."

FAS is a birth defect caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy. It is characterised by growth and mental retardation, facial and neural abnormalities and malformations of other organs.

Children suffering from FAS have learning disabilities, show poor coordination, have problems with memory, and exhibit hyperactivity and behavioural problems.

"As government we are supportive of this initiative and I am hopeful that it will help us in our endeavour to help families and communities to combat FAS by . increasing public awareness," Dlamini said.

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