Ndwendwe, 05 September: Today marked the fifth leg of the nine day long 9-9-9 campaign against Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD). 9-9-9 stands for 9 consecutive days in 9 provinces leading up to the 9th day of September, which is International Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Day.
FASD is a leading source of non-genetic developmental and intellectual disability globally and is usually associated with primary and secondary disabilities. South Africa has been identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to have the highest reported prevalence of FASD in the world.
The Deputy Minister of Social Development Mme Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu handed over a stimulation room in Esidumbini Community Care Centre in Ndwendwe, Kwa-Zulu Natal.
The stimulation room handed over will be used to assist with stimulating children with FASD and others with other disabilities by using various equipment to improve movement as well brain functioning.
The handing over of a stimulation room is in line with the theme for FASD month this year: “ Uniting our strengths: funding solutions together “.
Deputy Minister also used this day to call for the law to start looking at charging women who drink while pregnant resulting in children with FASD.
"Women who drink alcohol while they are pregnant must be charged for child abuse, the sad thing is that these women have these children with FASD and then they leave them with the elderly to take care of them, “ said Deputy Minister while she pleaded with pregnant women to choose to have a healthy child and not drink alcohol during pregnancy.
“South Africans have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, where binge drinking has become the norm amongst youngsters," she said.
Deputy Minister further added that with heavy drinking young people run the risk of damaging their brains which may show shrinkage in some areas and impaired communication within the brain.
In continuing with her effort to raise awareness on the dangers of drinking alcohol while pregnant or breastfeeding, Deputy Minister Bogopane- Zulu will be visiting Ikhwezi Lokusa Rehabilitation Centre in Umthatha, Eastern Cape.
The visit comes after Carte Blanche exposed the conditions and maltreatment of children with disabilities at the Ikhwezi Lokusa Special School.
Deputy Minister will be joined by MEC of social development in the Eastern Cape, Ms Bukiwe Fanta during the visit.
The training centre is for young adults with physical and mild mental disabilities.
It is meant to empower young people with entrepreneurial knowledge thus resulting in them having access to economic opportunities.
Members of the media are invited to attend and cover the visit arranged as follows:
Date: Wednesday , 06 September 2023
Venue: Ikhwezi lokusa Rehabilitation Centre
Glen Avent, Gerald Spilkin Street, Ikwezi, Mthatha, Eastern Cape Province
ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT