FOETAL Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) are a set of preventable birth defects caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Research has shown that alcohol produces far more serious neurobehavioural effects in the foetus than marijuana, cocaine or heroin. Awareness is growing of the high prevalence of FASD in South Africa, and its crippling effects on children and their life chances.
Recent surveys in rural and urban areas have shown that between 6% and 11% of South African children suffer from FASD. Given this, the HCET is administering a growing FASD Awareness Programme. The programme was inaugurated in 2012. All new families in the district attend FASD workshops, and FASD awareness is reinforced during home visits by field workers. Community members also attend an annual FASD Awareness Day.