World in Progress: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome affects millions of kids in South Africa | World | Breaking news and perspectives from around the globe | DW | 06.01.2022

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World

World in Progress: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome affects millions of kids in South Africa

When pregnant women drink alcohol, the impact on their babies' health can be severe. In South Africa, more than ten percent of kids suffer from Fetal Alcohol symptome - the highest figure worldwide.

Listen to audio 30:00

It's more prevalent in South Africa than anywhere else in the world: the fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. More than ten percent of newborn babies there are affected. Globally, it up to two percent. Because their mothers drank alcohol during pregnancy, children suffer irreversable brain damage that results in increased aggression, learning difficulties, stunted growth and other problems. Many women use alcohol as a means to escape their harsh lives in the slums. There are outreach programs to help pregnant women. But with high unemployment rates and gang violence, it's no easy feat as Thomas Kruchem reports. His feature is presented by Louisa Wright. 

Author. Thomas Kruchem

Presenter: Louisa Wright