ABInbev, Aware.org, SASSA in partnership with the Department of Social Development embarked on the 999 Campaigns FASD road show, in all 9 provinces in S.A., to create awareness during Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) Month (September). The aim of the roadshow was to create awareness and educate the public about the dangers of alcohol abuse during pregnancy.
FASD is a characteristic pattern of physical and mental birth deficiencies, caused by alcohol consumption while the mother is pregnant.
One in ten South African babies is born with FASD, which is 14 times the global average. It is estimated that at least three million South Africans are affected by this disorder, and the most difficult reality to face is that it is 100% preventable.
Deputy Minister signing a pledge during the 999 Campaign at Birchwood Hotel, Kempton Park.
The 999 Campaign was attended by various dignitaries amongst whom were, the Deputy Minister of Social Development Ms Bobogopane Zulu, Aware.org CEO Ms Ingrid Louw, and SAB Corporate Affairs Director, Ms Zoleka Lisa.
The Minister’s conversation was about creating the right mindset when it comes to support. She urged communities to perceive themselves as first assets and think about the government as a creator of an enabling environment. The robust discussions that took place during the campaign started a country-wide debate which, if all stakeholders play their part, will lead to positive outcomes.
During her closing remarks The Deputy Minister, Ms Bogopane-Zulu also encouraged the youth to focus on their studies.
The campaign reached approximately 4,500 people across the country. The National Drug Master Plan complements the work of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Alcohol and Drug Abuse by guiding and monitoring the actions of the government in partnership with other role players to reduce FAS and drug abuse among pregnant mothers.
The plan will help guide the vision of a society free of substance abuse so that more attention can be focused on raising the quality of life of the poor and vulnerable, as well as develop the people to achieve their true potential.
Furthermore, it helps those who are victims of FASD by offering health care facilities. In 2016, SAB invested 3 million rand in building the FAS House in Mpumalanga - KwaBhokweni. During the last two years treatment and care has been provided for over 500 pregnant mothers and other victims.
SAB also donated food parcels, baby hampers and wheelchairs to the Hlayisani FAS House for International FAS Day. In addition, SAB contributed R40,000 to build a borehole and implement solar grids to make the House more sustainable over a longer period of time, helping to save money and fund other areas of need.
For a larger reach on a digital scale, SAB invited pregnant mothers from all over South Africa to take part in a social experiment to listen to their unborn child’s plea asking them not to drink while they are in their belly. This was the result: https://youtu.be/iASrF3Tiygs
There is Hope
For SAB, it is very important to warn pregnant women about the harm they can cause to their unborn child when they consume alcohol. The effects of FASD are irreparable but 100% preventable. In addition, expectant women should take a stand against social pressures from boyfriends, husbands, friends who say it’s okay. It is not okay!
Responsible drinking is a positive choice we all have to make. The most important thing to remember if you’re struggling to quit, whilst pregnant, is that you are not alone. Be smart and proactive about it, make your intentions known to your close friends and family in order to rely on their support.
For more information and support: