Fighting FAS together
The effort to prevent Foetal Alcohol Syndrome in South Africa and elsewhere requires strong partnerships among government, non-governmental organizations and communities.
THANDEKA: UThobeka Moletsane ongumongikazi omkhulu ekwajongene nenkqubo yokwazisa oomama abakhulelweyo ukuba bayeke ukusela utyeala xa bekhulelwe nento eyaziwa njenge foetal alcohol syndrome ekwanikezela ngenxaso kusapho oluthi luchatshazelwe sesi sigulo eNtshona Koloni. Apha wenza umzekelo omakhulu onomzukulwana ochatshazelwa yile meko. Uthi lubalulekile umanyano khonukuze kujongwane nale meko.
Translation: Thobeka Moletsane is a senior nurse in the Western Cape who facilitates workshops to prevent foetal alcohol syndrome and support families who have it. She gives an example of a granny whose grandson lives with the condition. She says partnerships are important because that’s where people get encouraged to tackle problems head on in solidarity with supporters.
SISTER MOLETSANE: Kolunye uqeqesho ebesinalo uphakamile omnye umakhulu enomdla kakhulu echaza into yokuba unale ngxaki yalo mntwana une foetal alcohol syndrome endlini. Kangange ndlela abamkhuthaza ngayo umntana. Ekulangazelela ukufumana ulwazi nge foetal alcohol syndrome esithi kungoba luzakusinceda ukuba ekubeni ukubana sikwazi ukum support(a) umntwana ukwenzela into yokubana ungamshout(i) umntana ngezinto angenakukwazi ukuzenza.
Translation: During one of our trainings we held recently a Granny showed interest in knowing more about foetal alcohol syndrome. She told us that she has a similar problem at home. She says they encourage her grandchild who lives with foetal alcohol syndrome to live a normal life just like other people. She wanted more information about foetal alcohol syndrome saying that this will help the family to support the child and understand him better and stop shouting at him for those things he cannot do well at.
THANDEKA: Kuyafumaneka kuye kube ngoomama kakhulu abathi kugxilwe kakhulu kubo kanti ngelinye ixesha kukho into ekuthiwa basela nootata bekhaya okanye amaqabane abo.
Translation: The focus is mainly on women. What happens to those couples ‘ women and men who drink alcohol together? What advice are you giving them?
SISTER MOLETSANE: Iinjongo zoqeqesho lethu asigxininisi koomama kakhulu ootata siyabafuna ngakumbi kuba ininzi izinto abathi oomama bazenze okanye bangazenzi xa befumana inxaso kootata bamakhaya abo. Umntu xa nomlingane wakhe eyeka ukusela xa beqonde into yokuba bacwangcisa intsapho yabo nokuba bebesela kunye ukuba notata uyekile ukusela ngelixesha bathi bajonge ukuba baqale intsapho yabo so iba luncedo kakhulu. Iba yinnxaso engaphezulu leyo. Siyayi jonga into yokubana masithethe nootata kakhulu bayazi into yokuba babaxhase oomama xa bekhulelwe ngokuthi nabo bangaseli. Into enkulu engumyalezo omkhulu ebantwini yeyokuba utywala nokukhulelwa azidibani kwangethuba ucinga into yokubana zaku khulelwa okanye ufuna ukuba nomntwana uyabuyeka utywala.
Translation: Our training is not aimed only at women; we do need fathers or male partners for support. If partners decide to stop drinking alcohol in order to look at panning their family that helps. We look at ways of talking to men as well to support their female partners because liquor and pregnancy do not match. That’s why it is important if one decided to get pregnant or is pregnant, one should stop drinking alcohol completely.
THANDEKA: Abantwana baba sisulu sokugezelwa bethukwa ngenxa yeengxaki abazifumana nezingunobangela wale mo ye foetal alcohol syndrome. Ugqirha Nat Khaole nojongene neziko elikhulu elijongene ngoomama abasela bekhulelwe eNtshona Koloni kwi Yunivesithi yaseKapa, uthi ingqondo idlala indima enkulu kwesi sigulo. Echaza.
Translation: Because of the brain damaged caused by foetal alcohol syndrome, children with FAS often become victims of teasing and insults from their communities. Dr Nat Khaole Programme Director for Alcohol Related Research and the Foetal Alcohol Unit at the University of Cape Town says brain is an important organ in this condition.
DR KHAOLE: Their IQ is just an indication of how their brain functions and the tendency that has been found through research is that their IQ will be lower than what you would expect for their age. They behave differently in the sense that normally as children grow they learn certain things and with children with foetal alcohol syndrome it’s been found that those things they don’t learn need to be repeated and repeated. An example would be any child would recognize that something is dangerous if you burn yourself once you would know that you won’t burn yourself again. But children with foetal alcohol syndrome will not know that. Another common thing is children are taught that strangers are not the part of the home, but you’ll find that with foetal alcohol children they are so trusting that even a stranger won’t be something that is outside the bounds of the family. Those are some of the things that indicate that their behaviour is not like what you would expect. For instance the classical example is about law infringements they may do something that is wrong. They will be told that this thing is legally wrong but to them it’s not legally wrong and they might repeat it hence in trying to help them we always say patience should be the issue. Teachers at should be very patient with them. The legal system has to be brought in as well in case the child who is been diagnosed with foetal alcohol syndrome or slightly grown up who is been diagnosed with foetal alcohol syndrome if that commits something that is legally wrong they should be dealt with differently in the sense that it should be understood that they interpret things differently from a normal child.
Translation: Ubungakanani bokuqiqa kwabo bucacisa ukusebenza kwengqondo yaye kufumanisekile eluphandweni ukuba umlinganiselo woqiqo lwabo luyakuthanda ukuba luncinane kunolo ebelinokulindelwa kwiminyaka yabo. Baziphethe ngendlela eyahlukileyo njengokuba usazi ekukhuleni kwabantwana bayebazifundundele izinto ezithile kodwa abantwana abanale mo ezo zinto abaye bazifundeyaye kufuneka ukuba ziphinda phindwe kubo. Umzekelo ngulo umntwana uyakuyazi ukuba ukuba into ethile ingayingozi ukuba uzitshisile akusayi kuthanda uphine utshe kwakhona. Kodwa abantwana abane foetal alcohol syndrome abayazi lonto. Enye into eqhelekileyo yile yokuba abantwana bayafundiswa ukuba abantu abangabaziyo abayonxenye yekhaya labo kodwa abantwana abanalemo ababoni nto ingalunganga baye bathembe nokuba ngubani nalomntu abamboni njenge ngozi. Ezi zezinye zezinto ezibonakalisa indlela yabo yokuziphatha ukuba yohluka njani. Ukwandisa koku umzekelo xa kufikelela kumba wokwa phulwa komthetho bangenza into engekho semthethweni. Baxelelwe ukuba lento bayenzileyo lulo phulo mthetho kodwa bangahle bayiphinde kungoko ke xa sizama ukuncedana nabo simemelela ukuba abafundisi ntsapho babe nomnonde kwaba bantwana. Ingalo yomthetho kufuneka ibe yinxenye yalo msebenzi wabantwan abane foetal alcohol syndrome nekufunyaniswe ukuba banayo khonukuze ukuba bophula umthetho kufuneka balulekwe ngendlela eyahlukileyo kuba kufuneka kwaziwe ukuba izinto bazibona ngolunye uhlobo lwabo hayi ngokwendlela yomntwna obhadlileyo.
THANDEKA: Ingaba ke akhona amaziko ajongana nabantwana abachatshazelwa yile ngxaki ukukhawulelana neengxaki ezithi zifumaneke ekukhuleni kwabo?
Translation: Are there any centres that help children with foetal alcohol syndrome to cope better?
DR KHAOLE: In South Africa unfortunately the system doesn’t allow that hopefully in the future with discussions with government and teachers. The three departments Justice, Education and Health those are three critical departments that would have to cooperate to look after children with foetal alcohol syndrome. In future hopefully they will have programmes where these children could be helped and taken through certain programmes that would help them. I spent a year in the United States for instance in California they have programmes. Once a child is diagnosed with foetal alcohol syndrome or any other neuro developmental problem they will be dealt with in those programmes, which help them, to achieve their best potential unfortunately our children still go to mainstream schools and they are taught like any other child who is normal. That in a way is not helpful so once we have the resources hopefully these children can be put through programmes that will be geared specifically for them and help them achieve their potential.
Translation: Apha eMzantsi Afrika ngelishwa akukho siseko esibekiweyo ukujongana nale meko ngokomthetho mhlawumbi ke ekuhambeni kwexesha kwiingxoxo norhulumente nabafundisi ntsapho. Amaziko ezobuLungisa (Justice), ezeMfundo (Education) neleMpilo (Health) kuyakufuneka asebenzisane khonukuze ajongane nabantwana abanemo yefoetal alcohol syndrome. Mhlawumbi ke ekuhambeni kwexesha bayakuba neenkqubo apho aba bantwana bangancedwa bafakwe kwiinkqubo ezithile ezijongenen nabo. Ndichithe ixesha eMelika eCalifornia baneenkqubo zabantwana abathe bafunyaniswa benemo ye foetal alcohol syndrome okanye nokuphi ukuphazamiseka kwasengqondweni baye bafakwe enkqubeni ebancedayo khonukuze babe nempu,melelo. Into ebuhlungu yeyokuba ngelishwa abantwana bashamba izikolo zika wonke wonke bafundiswa njengaye nawuphina umntwana ophilileyo. Lont nje ngokunokwayo ayincedi . Ukuba sinokuba nezixhobo zokusebenza ndinethemba lokuba aba bantwana bangafakwa kwiinkqubo ezilungiselelwe bona neyinto enokubaenza baphumelele.
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