Policy Analysis Framework
Health and medical experts have raised health concerns over the effects of excessive consumption of alcohol and other drugs. The government on their part has failed to sensitize the public about the effects of abusing alcohol and other substances. From the medical point of view, unregulated consumption of alcohol is health hazardous and if not regulated or diagnosed, it may results into a disaster in waiting. Even after loud calls and appeals by the clinical and health experts, the government through its relevant agencies is yet to respond to these plights. One of the lasting effects of excessive consumption of alcohol is the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) (Riley, 2011). FASD is a health condition that causes birth effects to the new born especially when the expectant mothers consume alcohol beyond the recommended levels. This is a life-long medical disability caused by prenatal exposure to alcoholic fluids.
Globally, approximately 1% of new births are affected by this disability, hence posing a heavy economic and financial burden on the families, communities, and the society from which the affected groups comes from (May, & Gossage, 2001). As noted by health professionals, without proper intervention and support from the entire community, individuals suffering from FASD are more likely to suffer from recurring employment challenges, disrupted learning experiences, suicidal attempts, and criminal injustice. Although FASD is a birth condition with no cure yet, medical research findings have established that this disorder is preventable. The prevention calls for collective health conscious responsibility by all the leading stakeholders in the health sector. To protect the innocent new born babies from suffering from this deadly infection, it is paramount for the government and the health fraternity to enact some policies to act as framework for regulating alcohol consumption among especially among the most vulnerable groups, expectant mothers. This would be a perfect move aimed at protect the children given birth to by alcohol abusive mothers. Since FASD affects all the leading sectors of the economy, it is therefore important to involve all these sectors in the prevention and supportive missions (May, & Gossage, 2001).
The primary step towards addressing this medical disorder is prevention. To prevent FASD, a concerted action is necessary at all the levels by addressing the underlying risks associated with the disorder. To achieve a realistic primary goal of prevention and regulation of the alcohol consumption level among expecting mothers, the government and the community at large should at the forefront by enacting policies that restrict and regulates the exposure of expectant women to alcohol. The second step in FASD prevention is creation of awareness through campaigns. In addition to creating awareness, it is important for the government through the relevant institutions to address the root cause of the disorder that happens to be excessive consumption of alcohol. When these are adequately addressed, the community stands a better chance of benefits from the reduced burden of caring for the FASD victims. Through safe medical and health promotions, expectant women are bound to make informed decisions with respect to their health conditions and those of their families.
Another policy approach that would be effective in reducing the level of FASD infections is the provision of culturally and women-centered services. Such services that are women-centered are essential in creating awareness on the health implications and the associated burden of FASD infections to the entire family, the government and the community from which the victim hails (Buxton, 2005; May, & Gossage, 2001). Although there is no known medical cure for FASD, the impact of the disorder may be reduced by constructing an integrated support systems and availing adequate resources through sound leadership, partnership, direction, and collaborations with the stakeholders in order to reduce the effects of the FASD and advance the prevention mechanisms. Through such integrated collaborative policies, the needs of the FASD disables would be met. Finally, intervention policies and screening tools are critical in improving the lives of the FASD infected persons (Riley, 2011).