Partnerships vital in combating FAS

18 November 2002

FAS expert: Prof Denis Viljoen (left), chief executive officer of the Foundation for Alcohol Related Research (FARR) addresses the media.

SOUTH Africa presented unique opportunities for research problems related to foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), as not only did the country have great numbers of children affected by the syndrome, but researchers were able to look at children of the same age and in the same place, Dr Faye Calhoun, Director for Collaborative Research Activities (NIAAA) told a press conference recently.

Calhoun was one of a panel of experts who addressed the media after a two day conference involving FAS experts from South Africa and the United States.

“South Africa gives us a unique opportunity to determine how these children can be helped vis-à-vis targeted interventions,” she said. “South Africa is also able to assist the US and other countries looking to form partnerships to address FAS in their countries.”

The conference was held under the auspices of the South African-based Foundation of Alcohol Related Research (FARR) and the South African-US Co-operation Forum Health Committee. Delegates reviewed the results of FAS research undertaken by South African and US investigators over the past five years.

Much of the research into FAS is conducted in the Western Cape. The assembled group of experts emphasised that a multi-pronged approach to the problem was vital, one that also incorporated the liquor industry as well as the informal sector, which included illegal shebeens.

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