South Africa has the highest prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in the world yet many women have no access to clinic care or to physicians in their communities. The shortage of physicians trained in the diagnosis of FASD is even more severe. Thus there is a need to train community workers to assist in the delivery of health care.
This study reports on the effectiveness of training community workers, in the Philani Mentor Mothers programme, to screen for a possible diagnosis of a FASD.
Community workers in Cape Town, South Africa were trained to screen for FASD in 139, 18-month-old toddlers with prenatal alcohol exposure. Children were assessed according to the salient characteristics of individuals with PAE using height, weight, head circumference (OFC), philtrum, and lip measurements according to criteria set forth by the Institute of Medicine. Screen-positive children were referred for diagnostic assessment to a pediatrician reliably trained in the diagnosis of FASD.
Authors: Mary J. O’Connor (Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles), Mary Jane Rotheram-Borus (Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles), Mark Tomlinson (Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University), Claudine Bill (Philani Nutrition and Development Project), Ingrid M. LeRoux MD (Philani Nutrition and Development Project, Jackie Stewart (Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University)
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