Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogopane - Zulu launched the 9-9-9 Alcohol Foetus Syndrome campaign in Gqeberha
By Nande Fayo and Siphokazi Nonjobe

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome is a preventable condition which impacts negatively on unborn babies as a result of alcohol intake by mothers during pregnancy. This condition also causes mental and physical life-long problems for unborn babies when mothers consume alcohol while pregnant and when  breast feeding.
Women who drink alcohol when they are  pregnant run the risk of giving birth to unhealthy babies because of  alcohol which is transferred through the mother’s blood and passes it on to the unborn baby through the placenta.
It is against this context that the Deputy Minister of Social Development, Mrs Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu and MEC Siphokazi Lusithi launched the 9-9-9 Foetal Alcohol Syndrome campaign in Gqeberha in Helenvale to educate communities about dangers associated with alcohol drinking while pregnant and breastfeeding.
The campaign was launched as an interactive dialogue wherein various sectors comprising of among others; pregnant women, youth, parents of children with FAS disorder, tavern and shebeen owners and traditional leaders. This initiative afforded community members to exchange views on how to prevent Foetal Alcohol Syndrome and its impact on children.
The Department of Social Development is the lead department in the coordination and implementation of the National Drug Master Plan (NDMP) which is aimed at achieving a drug free society for the benefit of all South Africans. The Department also has a role to implement programmes targeting at preventing alcohol related social ills including; gender-based violence, teenage pregnancy, HIV and Aids chronic and dysfunctional communities.
9-9-9 stands for 9 consecutive days in  9 provinces leading up to the 9th day of September, which is International Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Day.