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Rwanda: Expert Shares Tips On How to Deal With Alcoholism

Reducing rates of chronic diseases requires coming up with stringent policies against the major causes like alcoholism, Labram Musah, the National Coordinator and Executive Director of Programs of Ghana NCD Alliance, said.

Chronic diseases are also known as Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). Among the causes of such diseases is excessive consumption of alcohol. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) alcoholism leads to 3 million deaths each year globally as well as disabilities and poor health of millions of people.

The NCD alliance also reports that of the 3 million alcohol-related deaths each year, 320 000 are young people between 15 and 29 years of age.

Despite this, alcohol is still widely consumed in ways and volumes that are particularly hazardous.

The Ghana NCD Alliance, an organization whose works revolve around different interventions on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), has noticed the issue and started advocating for the establishment of an alcohol policy to help set stringent measures to tackle alcohol consumption.

According to Musah Ghana NCD Alliance has some key members who work on alcohol intervention to advocate for an alcohol regulation that was initiated to reduce the accessibility, affordability, and exposure of alcohol, more specifically, ensuring the protection of people from consuming alcoholic beverages.

“We already had an alcohol policy in Ghana when the alliance started but it was not helpful enough for us to achieve the objective we wanted to achieve,” he said. “We’ve been working with policymakers to ensure that in Ghana we have a regulation on alcohol.”

As a member of the National Technical Working Group on Alcohol, Ghana NCD Alliance supported the development of alcohol regulations and advocated for its alignment with World Health Organization (WHO)’s recommendations within the SAFER technical package.

According to Musah, the proposed alcohol regulations focused on control of the sale of alcoholic drinks, business licensing, packaging and advertisement of alcoholic drinks, has been submitted to the Attorney Generals’ Department for onward submission to Parliament.

Musah also declared that so far, the Ghana NCD Alliance s made significant progress, ensuring that the alcohol industry is aware of the discussions they’ve been having around the matter.

“Alcohol doesn’t have any known health benefits and the evidence is building up. It’s not about saying that alcohol should be banned, but there is a need to, as much as we can, set up stringent measures that would effectively reduce the activities of the alcohol industry because the target has always been catching the young ones as the new customers,” he said.

Musah also mentioned that the Ghana NCD Alliance has also raised advocacy that saw alcohol advertisement restricted from 6a.m to 8p.m in Ghana, declaring that the regulation is still being rolled out.

He noted that celebrities and online personalities were also banned from featuring or advertising any alcoholic beverage in Ghana because they influence young people, adding that the alliance keeps sparking conversations around the need for alcohol policy intervention.

Ghana NCD Alliance is among the participants of the Regional Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Conference 2022 which is scheduled to take place at Kigali Convention Center from November 24 to 25.

Musah said they look forward to raising a conversation around the alcohol regulations during the conference which is a high-level public health gathering.

The conference is expected to convene over 500 participants including policymakers, non-governmental organisations, advocates, academia, physicians as well private sector players.

Founded in 2017, Ghana NCD Alliance comprises 15 organisations. It has built up a diverse portfolio of activities positioning NCDs as a development issue and has become a recognised partner of the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders in Ghana.

According to Musah, their works revolve around interventions on NCDs from prevention, treatment, care, and support.

“We have pure advocacy organizations on NCD issues and those that work around the treatment of NCDs as well as those that work around care and support of the NCDs,” he said, adding that they seek to increase areas of intervention.

Musah also noted that the key members of Ghana NCD Alliance include diabetes, cancer, hypertension, and stroke groups as well as different youth and women groups, declaring that they involve people of different ages given that NCDs affect everyone.