Letter to the Editor: Why do pregnant South African women drink alcohol? A call to action for more qualitative investigations

Olufunto A. Olusanya, Adam E. Barry

Abstract


Olusanya, O., & Barry, A. (2015). Letter to the Editor: Why do pregnant South African women drink alcohol? A call to action for more qualitative investigations. The International Journal Of Alcohol And Drug Research, 4(2), 171-174. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.7895/ijadr.v4i2.213

Even though the adverse effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy have been well documented, millions of babies each year continue to be affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). This is concerning given that FASD is completely preventable. FASDs have been documented across a variety of races and geographical regions worldwide, yet the highest known prevalence rates are recorded in Africa. Specifically, for every 1000 children born in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, approximately 59.3 to 91.0 are determined to have fetal alcohol syndrome, the most severe form of FASD. While the risk factors contributing to FASDs have been examined quantitatively among South African women, there is a dearth of qualitative investigations that articulate and contextualize the underling motivations, beliefs, and attitudes that influence these risk factors. Qualitative investigations have been conducted in other geographic regions (e.g., Australia), but are not generalizable to South Africa. Qualitative investigations, which explore the familial, social, cultural, and economic factors that influence maternal drinking, are needed to inform future health promotion programs and interventions aimed at decreasing and ultimately eliminating maternal alcohol consumption among South African women.


Keywords


Alcohol; Fetal Alcohol Syndrome; Drinking; Pregnancy; Maternal Health; Child Health

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7895/ijadr.v4i2.213

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