Screening for Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders by non-medical community workers

This study reports on the effectiveness of training community workers to screen for a possible diagnosis of a Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).

Community workers in Cape Town, South Africa were trained to screen for FASD in 139, 18-month-old toddlers with prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE). 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 paediatrician reliably trained in the diagnosis of FASD.

The Philani Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition Project has been addressing child health and nutrition problems in informal settlements around Cape Town since 1979. Ilifa Labantwana supported the evaluation of the study in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. The findings of this research stem from this evaluation.

Written by Mary J. O’Connor, Mary Jane Rotheram-Borus, Mark Tomlinson, Claudine Bill, Ingrid M. LeRoux and Jackie Stewart. Published by Canadian Society of Pharmacology and Therapeutics in 2014.

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