LADYBRAND – The Lesotho Minister of Home Affairs, Motlalentoa Letsosa on September 1 joined the South African Deputy Minister of Social Development, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu in Ladybrand, Free State province where she kicked-off a nine-day nation-wide campaign against Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD).
Sept. 5, 2022
3 min read
Lesotho, SA fight drunkenness among pregnant women
Delegates at the launch
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FASD is a preventable condition that develops in a fetus when a woman drinks alcohol during pregnancy.
The official launch of the campaign that is also referred to as, 999, which simply implies nine consecutive days in nine provinces of SA leading up to the 9th day of September, which is the International Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Day, was a runaway success.
In attendance were also local pregnant women, elderly people, school children as well as tarven owners.
The launch was held at the Ladybrand Town Hall and amongst other dignitaries who attended were the Free State Social Development MEC, Mamikie Qabathe, Ladybrand Police Station Commander Lieutenant Colonel Dlamini, SANDF Officer Commanding's representative, Major Jessica Julies, Mantsopa Local Municipality Speaker, Cllr Mvuyo Ncwada and Mantsopa Local Municipality Mayor, Cllr Mamsie Tsoene and Mantsopa councilors.
In her opening remarks, Cllr. Tsoene expressed her gratitude to everyone working on the ground to ensure the success of the campaign.
She said the FASD campaign would not be forgotten due to the immense impact and knowledge it brought to the community of Mantsopa Local Municipality.
The ringing of the bell was led by the MEC of Social Development while the participants set off their "memezas" for nine minutes in honour of all the mothers and children who suffered trauma, struggled and endured various difficulties due to alcohol and drug abuse.
The FASD knot (symbol of the umbilical cord) was thereafter explained by the Deputy Minister as a rope which represents the umbilical cord through which the mother is connected to the unborn baby for nourishment purposes. The Deputy Minister further showed that alcohol consumption during pregnancy causes damage to the baby's central nervous system and the rest of the reproduction bodies of a woman.
The MEC along with Minister Letsosa and Cllr Tsoene lit candles to join in a prayer.
A delegate from the Beer Association of South Africa (BASA), Aphiwe Mawela, spoke about the damages that alcohol can cause and pleaded with women to stop drinking during their pregnancy or while breastfeeding as alcohol can have dire effects on their newborn babies.
The participants were invited to participate in a dialogue in which they highlighted their experiences with alcohol, drugs, pregnancy and child birth.
They discussed the challenges they encounter in their day-to-day lives which lead to unpleasant consequences such as alcohol and drug abuse, undesirable social issues and unplanned pregnancy.
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A pledge was read by the authorities and signed by the participants as an indication of taking responsibility.
As part of the event, the mothers who had brought their children along with them received baby bags, baby food and pampers.
Appreciating their presence, the MEC presented the Deputy Minister and Mr Letsosa with beautiful and unique blankets that bear the face of Winnie Mandela.
This type of gift is only given to special guests to honour them for their diligence in their respective fields of work.
“Young people learn to respect education because it is a girlfriend that will never leave you, and a boyfriend that will never get tired of you,” Qabathe said.
Mr Letsosa made the closing remarks.