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Fetal alcohol syndrome: Dashed hopes, damaged lives
“He asks me why I drank so much while I was expecting him. I don’t really have answers for him”, says South African mother Marion Williams in a recent article of the WHO Bulletin. She lost two of her children in child birth.
The term Fetal Alcohol Syndrom (FAS) was coined about 40 years ago. It has slowly become recognized as a public health issue. Now is more typically termed Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), which encompasses also the less pronounced cases of health consequences for children from mother’s drinking during pregnancy.
In the latest issue of the WHO Bulletin Alicestine October reports from South Africa’s Western Cape province, which has the highest reported FASD rate in the world. In this region it is estimated that between 70 and 80 per 1000 babies born have the syndrome. There are no reliable global prevalence figures, but a 2005 study estimated a global incidence of 0.97 per 1000 live births based on research in the United States, says the WHO article.