Today organisations and countries across the world observe No Alcohol Day. WHO Afro region will also gather in Johannesburg to deliberate the implementation of the Global Alcohol Strategy of 2010 by countries on the continent. And across the oceans public health advocates and researchers are gathering in Melbourne to share emerging evidence on health outcomes where governments like Russia, Scotland and Thailand introduced regulatory measures.
On this day individuals and countries have to reflect on the cultures of alcohol consumption and it’s harmful impact at individual, community and societal level.
- 3 million people died in 2016 attributable to alcohol
- 13.5% of pre-mature deaths amongst 20-38 year olds are attributed to alcohol
- Africa has the highest burden of disease and injury attributed to alcohol in the world
- 60% of women who report GBV say there abusers used alcohol at the time
- estimates of 5-35% of road traffic deaths are alcohol related
- 60% of current drinkers in sub-Saharan Africa are heavy drinkers
- evidence shows that advertising influences the age when children start drinking and the amounts of alcohol they drink
These statistics should be the impetus for urgent action. Alcohol is no ordinary commodity – it plays a role in interpersonal violence, gender based violence, road traffic crashes, reduced productivity, unsafe sex and severe chronic disorders such as liver cirrhosis, hepatitis, gastritis, and pancreatitis. Adolescent consumption impacts on their physiological, cognitive, emotional and behavioural development.
SAAPA calls on governments in sub-Saharan Africa to urgently introduce legislation that adopt WHO best buys – restrict advertising and marketing; increase the price; and restrict hours of sale and reduce density of outlets. Our economies desperately require the money being diverted to dealing with alcohol harm to be redirected to development to achieve Agenda 2030 and Agenda 63.