Press Release
Prioritization of Alcohol Control Policy will safeguard Public Health in Africa

For immediate release: June 14, 2019
Media contact: Maik Dünnbier
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MAKE ALCOHOL POLICY THE PRIORITY IT SHOULD BE TO PROTECT OUR COMMUNITIESDEVELOPMENT THROUGH

Prioritization of Alcohol Control Policy will safeguard Public Health in Africa

The East African Alcohol Control and Policy Alliance call on African leaders to step up efforts for alcohol control to reach health and development for all.

The East African Alcohol Policy Alliance, is a Regional Alliance comprising of National Alliances within the member states interested in the enhancement of Alcohol control within the EAC supported by IOGT International and are sounding the alarm about pervasive alcohol harm across East African countries.

EAAPA also expresses grave concern about the lack of high-level political leadership to formulate and implement evidence-based, high-impact alcohol policy measures.

It is proven that throughout East Africa, and the world at large, 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.

Alcohol adversely affects 13 of 17 Sustainable Development Goals and we can see how it is decimating our families and communities, eroding our economic development and hindering poverty eradication.

The latest Global Alcohol Status Report of the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that countries in Africa are now bearing the heaviest burdenof alcohol-related disease and injury – even though other continents are still consuming more alcohol in total. WHO projects that alcohol consumption will increase, not decrease, around the world by 2025.

The fact that Sub-Saharan Africa now suffers from the heaviest burden of disease and injury attributable to alcohol shows that this is a health and development crisis as well as major global justice issue, since predominantly Western alcohol corporations are aggressively pushing into African countries to hook a generation of young Africans on their harmful products.

Scientific evidence shows that African countries are failing to reach the target of a 10% reduction of per capita alcohol use until 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.

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.

The only beneficiary to the use and abuse of alcohol products is the alcohol industry while the damage and harm to Public health as well as the disease management Burden outweighs any revenue benefits to the East African Governments.

The failure to substantially reduce alcohol use and related harms threatens progress not only in health, but in social justice, economic productivity and in sustainable development. Without urgent action, the alcohol burden is only going to rise and the death toll shall never stagnate.

Our governments must rise to occasion and enforce their duty to protect people, communities and societies from alcohol harm since it is clear that current policies and laws are not enough.

We applaud the recent adoption of the East African Community Policy on Prevention, Management and Control of Alcohol, Drugs and Other Substances and do hereby call on all member states Governments to reinforce this with a Protocol on the same.

We affirm that a regional Protocol on the Prevention, Management and Control of Alcohol, Drugs and Other Substances will go a long way to rectify several lapses in the current cross border policy and Legislation.

We urgently call on our governments to make use of high-impact, cost-effective alcohol policy solutions that are available and that are proven to reinforce the Regional Policy.

We also call on the WHO Executive Board members Kenya and Tanzania to lead the charge globally – in accordance with their important positions.

Our people need urgent and bold action. It’s time to curb the harmful effects of alcohol use within the East African Region and the time is ripe to make alcohol policy the priority it should be. It’s time to deliver on the promise to protect people from harm and achieve health and develop- ment for all for the sake of the future of our region.

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Download the press release as PDF, here.

Notes to the editors

Who is EAAPA?

The East African Alcohol Policy Alliance is the network of five national alcohol policy alliances from all countries in the East African Community (EAC), Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, advocating for evidence-based alcohol policy approaches.

Who is IOGT International?

IOGT International is the premier global network for evidence-based policy solutions and community-based interventions to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm. Founded in 1851, IOGT International has 134 Member Organizations in 56 countries and works with the a comprehensive approach to promoting development through addressing alcohol harm, by working with prevention, treatment and rehabilitation as well as policy advocacy.