What we Do
FARR understands the far-reaching implications of FASD and the impact on people and communities affected by it. We strive to have long term sustainable impact by:
- Raising Social Awareness
- Conducting World Class Medical and Psycho-social Research related to FASD
- Conducting Prevention Programmes
- Offering Training, Education and Mentorship Programmes
- Offering Support Services
- Diagnostic Services
The following section outlines these areas of work in greater detail and is intended to give you a glimpse into our world.
The cost of any birth defect is more than the cost to prevent it, in other words: Prevention is more cost effective than management and treatment.
The usual number of serious birth defects in a community is between 1-3%. A serious birth defect we define as being a defect that causes a major hindrance to full capacity (a disability). FAS is thought to affect at least 3 million people in South Africa, with more than 6 million affected by FASD. What this tells us is that in South Africa, we could have up to 20% of our population affected by alcohol exposure during pregnancy. These statistics are not fully comprehensive because of the difficulty in diagnosing the lesser effects of FASD such as ARND (Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Defects) and ARBD (Alcohol Related Birth Defects).
It is estimated that FASD costs the USA over $6 billion (approximately R42 billion) every year. In South Africa, the burden of FASD will fall on the state and tax payers. The estimated burden of FASD on South Africa has not been calculated as yet, but we are aware the University of Cape Town is in the process of researching this.
In addition, South Africa is subjected to the usual pitfalls of all developing countries, which are exacerbated by alcohol and drug abuse and the resulting social ills and health burden. We at FARR call this the Wheel of Misfortune© (see pdf download below)
FARR is committed to increasing awareness of all South Africans about the importance of not drinking alcohol during pregnancy in order to ensure the birth of FASD-free children in our country. Should you wish to participate in, or find out more about upcoming FARR awareness programmes, please contact us on email@example.com
Do you require a Speaker?
Prof Denis Viljoen and Leana Olivier are FARR’s two main spokespeople. They have impressive track records that boast presentations at conferences both nationally and internationally. Should you require either Prof Viljoen or Ms Olivier, or a trained professional involved in the front line of our FASD prevention and intervention studies to speak at your event and would like more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that if you require a specific person to speak at your event that it would be best to book at least two months in advance.
To date, FARR has completed or is involved in 23 projects across South Africa and has published more than 50 scientific articles in respected journals such as Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (ACER), the WHO bulletin, Paediatrics, the American Journal of Public Health and the South African Medical Journal.
All of our publications are listed in the document linked below.
Education & Training Programmes
The dedicated FARR Training Academy was established in 2008, funded by ARA (The Industrys Association for Responsible Alcohol use) to familiarise and educate all people in South Africa regarding the dangers of substance abuse, with a focus on alcohol abuse. During 2009 the administration continued to be funded by ARA (Industrys Association for Responsible Alcohol Use). Other aspects that are emphasized include the impact of alcohol abuse during pregnancy, in the workplace, whilst driving vehicles, as a cause of domestic violence and chronic ill health, and as it relates to committing serious crime. The Academy is registered with HWSeta and offers SAQA-aligned comprehensive training workshops and programmes focusing on Substance Abuse and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Since August 2008, the FARR Training Academy has trained over 1500 learners from various sectors such as Departments of Health, Education and Social Development, various other NGOs and organisations as well as community members. Training conducted in 2009, included educators, social workers, social auxiliary workers, nurses, therapists, health promoters, volunteers, farm and forestry workers. 2010 Focused on health promoters and educators requiring special skills to deal with FASD affected learners. Various presentations on FASD have been given to a variety of sectors such as government sectors, NGOs, Faith-based organizations and the private sector. In 2011 the focus has been on community members involved in the various FARR Community Projects, Educators, Home-based Carers and opinion leaders in communities. Recognition & Accreditation: The FARR Training Academy has been granted full accreditation with the Health and Welfare SETA since 2010. The Professional training course is registered and is accredited with Continued Professional Development (CPD) points with the Health Professions Council for South Africa and the South African Council for Social Service Professions. All professionals receive CPD points after completing a training course with the FARR Training Academy.
Objectives of the FARR Training Academy:
The FARR Training Academy’s objectives are as follows:
- To raise awareness on substance abuse and its effects
- To raise awareness about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
- To build capacity of health care providers, educators, social workers, undergraduate students and other relevant stakeholders to identify women at risk and offer suitable interventions to stop alcohol usage in pregnancy, and make appropriate referrals for diagnosis, and offer comprehensive management.
- To build capacity pertaining to early identification, prevention and management of people with FASD.
Who should be trained?
The FARR Training Academy offers a variety of courses to various stakeholders including:
- The General Public (parents, caregivers, home-based carers, support groups)
- Educators, Social Workers, Therapists, Nurses and Doctors
- Specialised Professionals such as Educators for learners with special needs, Primary Health Care Nurses, etc.
- Medical Specialists
Diagnostics & Support
It is very important that the correct, scientific diagnostic criteria is followed to make sure that a child truly has FASD, and to prevent incorrect labelling of a child and his or her family. This is even more important in a multi-cultural society such as South Africa, where many of the so-called typical facial features of FAS are present in some ethnic groups. The wrong diagnosis is often made on these facial features and may have devastating results for both the child and its family.
The diagnosis of FASD can only be made by a multi-disciplinary team of trained specialists using the Institute of Medicines Model (IOM) and includes:
- A Clinical assessment: this is when a medical doctor, trained in the diagnosis of FASD, examines the child and uses special tests to assess whether the child has FASD.
- A Neuro-developmental assessment: this is when a trained psychometrist uses specific tests to make a psychological diagnosis of FASD.
- An intensive interview of the mother: to understand the type, time and amount of alcohol the mother drank during her pregnancy
The results of the 3 tests are compared by the team, and only if all three tests are conclusive, is a diagnosis of FASD made.
Over and above the research, prevention and intervention initiatives that FARR has introduced across the country, FARR also offers private consultations. For further information regarding these consultations, please contact email@example.com. Please note that Professional charges do apply and can be used for Medical Insurance claims.
We would like to highlight some of the Programmes we have introduced in various areas across the Northern and Western Cape, as well as showcase some of our Intervention and Awareness Projects and Courses. Please click on the relevant links below to find out more:
Intervention & Awareness Projects
Health Mother, Healthy Baby (HMHB)
Research conducted by FARR is usually in high risk areas of South Africa. FARR will not enter a community unless it is by invitation. Once invited, we follow an approach that conforms to international standards of research as shown in the diagram attached below: