The NGO fights fetal alcohol syndrome on several fronts: it gathers scientific evidence to highlight the problem in the hope that government decision-makers will fund and initiate prevention programmes; it trains medical and social services staff to develop prevention programmes and it raises public awareness.
Williams lives in one of South Africa’s famous wine-growing areas in the Western Cape.
She started drinking as a teenager and was taken out of school, she suspects, to work to buy wine for her parents.“There is a lot he wants to do, but I must remind him he’s not like other kids: he can work with his hands and build cupboards but not a thinking and writing job,” she says, regretfully.
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Treatment is focused on mental health and medical services to manage the resulting lifelong disabilities that include learning difficulties, behavioural problems, language, delayed social or motor skills, impaired memory and attention deficits.“It is estimated that at least one million people in this country have fetal alcohol syndrome and approximately five million have partial fetal alcohol syndrome and [other] fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
It’s tragic because it’s completely preventable,” says researcher and human geneticist Denis Viljoen in Cape Town, the provincial capital of South Africa’s Western Cape.“Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder is the most common birth defect in South Africa, by far more common than Down syndrome and neural-tube defects combined,” says Viljoen, who helped set up a nongovernmental organization (NGO) called the Foundation for Alcohol Related Research in 1997, after reaching the shocking conclusion that one in 10 of the children he saw at the genetics clinic at a hospital in Cape Town was affected.People with FAS sometimes experience problems with learning, memory, attention span, communication, vision, hearing or any combination of these effects.These conditions can cause difficulties in school and problems getting along with others.And the problem is not just limited to the rural poor of the Western Cape.“We see an increasing number of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders from middle and higher socio-economic groups coming to our private practice,” he says.Week got opium (Yves Saint Laurent), Pantere (Cartier), Angel Innocence profile stand out among.