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Policy development

Consultations were held with various government departments including the Ministry of Health, Tourism, Trade, Planning. Other nongovernmental organizations and the media were present.

It was agreed that the different ministries had to review their policies particularly with relation to alcohol advertising and marketing. Policies had to be aligned within the different ministries. The draft policy current lies with the office of communicable diseases.

Consultations continued with the Social Cluster Portfolio Committee. The session brought the issue to the parliamentary table with members agreeing that policy and messaging should be reviewed. Some of the discussions included: 

  • Developing interventions to address alcohol abuse, especially for young people.
  • Engaging security forces who have an influence to spread the message.
  • Securing parents’ commitment to change behaviour. Discourage parents from buying alcohol on behalf of their children. This is something that parents regularly do.
  • Raising the drinking age to 30 years and not 21-years-old
  • Discourage youth from resorting to alcohol by saying the reason is that they are unemployed and therefore bored

The members also signed the petition, pledging their support for the campaign and increase the pace to get the proposed policy changes into law. The advocacy campaign was encouraged to hold public hearing on the matter with support from the Social Cluster.

The campaign is moving forward with further research and increased lobbying to review policies.

The Petition

Petition to the Hon. Minister of Health to pledge to pass the Public Health Focused Evidence Based Lesotho National Alcohol Policy and its translation into law.

NOTING:

  1. Increased alcohol consumption among young people which damages their brain development;
  2. The unacceptable high levels of public drinking that leads to alcohol abuse, crime, violence, indecency and disorderly conduct in Lesotho;
  3. The uncontrolled mushrooming of liquor outlets in close proximity to schools, churches, households and others which are contravention to the law;
  4. The unregulated production and sales of home brew; and
  5. Unregulated alcohol advertising that influences increase in alcohol consumption leading to increased health costs, road deaths and traffic accidents.


WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, DEMAND:
The passing of the Lesotho National Alcohol Policy and its speedy translation into law with the following as stated in the policy statements:

  1. Increase minimum drinking age from 18 to 21 years-of-age.
  2. Total ban on drinking in public.
  3. No sales of alcohol within 0.5km of existing healthcare establishments, schools, places of worship, government offices and public transport stations.
  4. When deciding to grant or refuse a license the liquor licensing body will take into consideration matters raised by police or local officers and objections raised by the public.
  5. To have regulated brewing of alcohol and reduce production and sale of illegal alcohol.