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EAC states urged to enforce regulations on alcohol abuse

By Ronald Mugabe

Added 26th June 2019 02:06 PM

The WHO in 2014 estimated that the per capita consumption of alcohol in Uganda is 9.8 litres, but with a population of 58.7% of abstainers from alcohol use, the total per capita consumption of the alcohol users shows worryingly high consumption levels.

EAC states urged to enforce regulations on alcohol abuse

The WHO in 2014 estimated that the per capita consumption of alcohol in Uganda is 9.8 litres, but with a population of 58.7% of abstainers from alcohol use, the total per capita consumption of the alcohol users shows worryingly high consumption levels.

ALCOHOLISM 

KAMPALA - The East African Alcohol Policy Alliance (EAAPA) has advised EAC governments to step up efforts to fight alcohol abuse in the region. EAAPA is a regional alliance of national alliances within the member states interested in the enhance­ment of alcohol control.

In a statement released by the Uganda Health Communication Alliance (UHCA) and Uganda Alcohol Policy Alliance (UAPA) to mark the ‘International Day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking, the alliance pointed out that alcohol remains one of the main obstacles to development and a key contributor to the disease burden; as well as a key detractor of the human capital.

This comes against the backdrop of the executive director of Butabika Hospital, Dr. David Basangwa, who recently called on Parliament to pass the Alcohol Control Bill 2016 to control alcohol and substance abuse. He blamed alcoholism and drug abuse for the rising cases of mental illness.

"Mental illness is on the increase and currently, we have admitted about 950 patients in a facility that can take only 550 patients comfortably. Unfortunately, 40% of these are due to the use of alcohol and substance abuse. These numbers can be kept low if a law is passed," he said.

The WHO in 2014 estimated that the per capita consumption of alcohol in Uganda is 9.8 litres, but with a population of 58.7% of abstainers from alcohol use, the total per capita consumption of the alcohol users shows worryingly high consumption levels.

In March 2013, a CNN study ranked Uganda 8th in the world and first on the African continent in liquor intake.

The statement revealed that the latest Global Alcohol Status Report of the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that countries in Africa are now bearing the heaviest burden of alcohol-related disease and injury - even though other continents are still consuming more alcohol in total. WHO projects that alcohol consump­tion will increase around the world by 2025.

"We are very concerned about the rising of alcohol use within East Afri­ca. This is driven by increasing alcohol availability, marketing as well as reduced prices due to lapses in tax measures and other alcohol industry tactics," the alliance expressed.

"We do hereby call on the East African Member states governments to move with speed to enforce the Policy and Legislative regulations for the cut back on alcohol and we need to protect alcohol abstainers, in order to reduce the burden of death, disease, and disability within the region," they added.

The alliance also made an urgent call to the EAC governments to make use of high-impact, cost-ef­fective alcohol policy solutions that are available and that are proven to reinforce the regional policy.

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