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FASD problem in South Africa

Posted: 11 January 2013 by Rob Dabrowski

Mothers in one of South Africa's poorest areas are drinking heavily to deliberately damage their unborn babies, it is claimed.

FASD in South Africa
It is reported by Sky that pregnant women in Eastern Cape are drinking so their babies develop Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and they can claim disability allowance.   

State benefits mean an impoverished family receives the equivalent of £20 per child a month.

But the current disability allowance is the equivalent of £85 a month.

South Africa has had the highest number of FASD cases in the world since 2002, according to the WHO.

And the Eastern Cape Liquor Board has launched a campaign to educate young mothers about the dangers of drinking heavily whilst pregnant.

Sky spoke to the manager of the Miracle Kids Centre in Helenvale, where more than three-quarters of the children suffer from FASD.

The centre manager Genevieve Hendricks said: ‘We need to educate these mothers to know they are causing a lifetime of difficulties.’

But there is some skepticism of the idea that the women are drinking purposefully to damage their unborn children.

Leana Olivier, head of the Foundation for Alcohol Related Research in South Africa, said that many South African women do drink heavily.

But added that she thought the claim they are doing so to claim disability allowance is ‘total exaggeration’.