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Type Journal Article - International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Title The Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Its Impact on a Child’s Classroom Performance: A Case Study of a Rural South African School
Volume 14
Issue 8
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2017
Alcohol consumption is high among farm labourers in the Western and Northern Cape of South Africa. Excessive alcohol consumption during pregnancy is common, resulting in a high prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) among children. FAS causes intellectual and behavioural problems, which create considerable obstacles to a child’s education. The aim of this study is to provide a prevalence estimate of FAS in a rural school and to examine the effects of FAS on learners’ educational outcomes. The study was conducted at a farm school near Clanwilliam in theWestern Cape of South Africa. The sample comprises 166 learners from Grades 1 to 4. Educational outcomes include class scores (Afrikaans home language and mathematics), reading ability, and classroom behaviour. A physician diagnosed FAS using a three-stage process. We find FAS prevalence of 127 per 1000 (12.7%). Children with FAS score significantly lower (at the 10% level) for home language and behaviour than children who do not have FAS. Large-scale interventions in rural areas of the Western and Northern Cape that specifically target females of child-bearing age, as well as children with FAS, are necessary

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