By Rebecca Ekpe
Every September 9th advocates around the world mark International Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Day. It is dubbed; International FASD (Foetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders), Awareness Day.
On this day, proclamations are issued in countries, States, Provinces, and towns all around the world. Bells are rung usually at 9:09 a.m. in every time zone from New Zealand to Alaska, all in a bid to create awareness on the disease.
According to Researchers, Foetal Alcohol Syndrome is a condition that results in the child’s mental and physical defects, due to the mother’s alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
Doctors say treatments can help manage the condition, but there is no known cure. Diagnosis would require a laboratory test or imaging, and time taken for recovery can last for many years or be lifelong. The disease is also common for ages 5 and younger and for Doctors, urgent medical attention is highly recommended.
It is in line with this that Tetteh Solomon a Researcher in Ghana is advocating that the government dedicates more funding to support research into Foetal Alcohol Syndrome in Ghana.
According to him, long-term research is required to be able to address the situation in Ghana. He said other countries are ahead, so far as research, diagnosis and prognosis into the condition are concerned. He is of the view that Ghana can do the same, because the issue of alcohol consumption by pregnant mothers, and attendant effects on the baby is quite a common phenomenon in Ghana.
Mr. Solomon advised that young women should completely stay away from Alcohol during their reproductive years, more especially pregnant women should not consume alcohol, so that their babies can stay safe from Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Some people say that red wine is good for the heart and white wine also gives appetite, this question was posed to Mr. Solomon, who said in the case of the Syndrome, it would be advisable to stay away from all kinds of alcohol during pregnancy, so as to keep baby and mother safe.
On the question of whether fizzy drinks (sugar beverages), can cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Mr. Solomon answered in the negative.
To mark International Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Day in Ghana, a health walk is being organized and screening would be held for young women at the University of Ghana, Legon.