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About Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country located in southern Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the west and southwest, Zambia to the northwest, and Mozambique to the east and northeast. Although it does not border Namibia, less than 200 metres of the Zambezi River separates it from that country.

The capital and largest city is Harare. A country of roughly 13 million friendly and cheerful people, Zimbabwe has 16 official languages, with Shona, Ndebele and English being the most commonly used.

The name "Zimbabwe" comes from Great Zimbabwe derived from dzimba-dza-mabwe a Shona term translating to "large houses of stone” an ancient empire whose stone ruins in the country's south-east are what remains and are now a protected national heritage site attracting tourists from around the world.

Alcohol consumption and its effects in Zimbabwe

In a paper entitled ‘Drug Use, Abuse and Alcoholism in Zimbabwe’ published in October 2002, it was argued that alcoholism is one of Zimbabwe’s four top diseases. The paper states that at least three million people in Zimbabwe are alcoholics. The paper projected that in 2022, alcoholism will be the country’s number one social problem.

A study looking at survivors of gender violence in Zimbabwe found that consumption of alcohol was often involved in cases of domestic violence. According to police reports, more than 1000 people die in alcohol abuse-related accidents every year. A further 3000 sustain minor to serious injuries.

In a cross-sectional sample of 324 men recruited at beer halls in Harare to study the associations between alcohol use, sexual risk behaviour and HIV infection, it was found that 31% of the men reported having sex while intoxicated in the previous six months. There was a significant association between having sex while intoxicated and recent HIV seroconversion.

Legislation related to alcohol use

Alcohol Policy development

The Zimbabwean National Alcohol Policy initial discussions began in 2008, 6 drafts were made from six consultative meetings. A final draft was agreed on end of 2011 and is awaiting cabinet approval. However, despite the sincerity on the part of government, it is apparent that the alcohol industry played a significant role in the formulation of the draft alcohol policy for the country.

In 2014 after the SAAPA forum held in Gaberone, Botswana, Youth against Alcoholism and Drug Dependency (YADD) - a youth led Zimbabwean non-profit organisation that has been instrumental in placing the issue of alcohol abuse on the national agenda - following consultations with related civil society organisations came together to form a loose coalition which culminated in the formation of SAAPA Zimbabwe at a stakeholders workshop held in Harare in 2015.

SAAPA Zimbabwe intends to lobby for the enactment of an evidence-based public health centred alcohol policy free from the vested commercial interests of the alcohol industry in Zimbabwe.