FOUR out of 10 patients admitted at Butabika Hospital have an alcohol-related addiction, a senior psychiatrist has said.
Dr. David Basangwa attributed this to the misuse and easy access to alcohol.
â€œYou can imagine, every out of 10 cases we get, at least four have alcohol-related issues. This is because we have a lot of alcohol available on the market without policies to control it,â€ he said.
Basangwa was speaking during the second annual national Alcohol Abuse Prevention Public Dialogue under the theme â€œAlcohol Sachets; a ploy to recruit children into drinkingâ€ at the Uganda Bureau of Statistics House on Friday.
He said over 10 patients out of every 100 admitted in various hospitals have alcohol-related cases, for example, accident victims due to drunk-driving.
Basangwa noted that alcohol accounts for 3.2% of deaths in the world and is a leading cause of disabilities.
He said the laxity in regulating alcohol, especially, among the young generation, has made difficult to fight alcohol-related cases.
â€œWe need a national policy on the control of alcohol misuse. The Government should ban the sachet alcohol to protect the people,â€ he added.
The programme officer of Trans-cultural Psycho-social Organisation, Emmanuel Ngabirano, stressed that poor policy guidelines on production, distribution, consumption and marketing of alcohol had increased the abuse of alcohol.
Ngabirano said 70% of the children start drinking before the age of 15, according to the Anti Alcohol Abuse Coalition Group.
â€œThe growing alcohol industry has not been matched with proper policy guidelines. This has made Uganda one of the most unsafe places for children because they are exposed to early drinking,â€ he said.
He said close to 300 people this year could have lost their lives due to alcohol poisoning.
The chairman of East African Alcohol Policy Alliance, Rogers Kasirye, asked the Government to withdraw the licences of alcohol producers who do not meet the standards.
â€œThe district councils should come up with by-laws on alcohol within their areas to control the rate of consumption,â€ Kasirye said.
He proposed that packaging alcohol should be restricted to bottles with a minimum of 250ml.
â€œThis would make it easy to track cases of poison-related matters and it would be hard for children to buy or conceal it,â€ Kasirye said.
The dialogue was organised by Uganda Youth Development Link, in partnership with the Anti-Alcohol Abuse Coalition Group.
Alcohol addiction cases top Butabika Hospital admissions