The government in Tanzania has been urged to draft, discuss and implement a comprehensive alcohol policy to curb rising health and social related problems due to alcohol use in the East African country. Alcohol is a major obstacle to sustainable development in Tanzania, and to the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
The message from a capacity-building seminar on the social, economic and public health harms of alcohol Members of Parliament (MPs) concurred that there was a need for immediate formulation and implementation of an evidence-based, high-impact alcohol policy in the country.
The seminar was arranged by Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA).
Presenters outlined the many adverse consequences of alcohol use, highlighting alcohol’s harm to others than the consumer themselves – such as violence against women and children, draining household finances and workplace loss of productivity.
Other alcohol-related problems outlined were physical and mental health problems, as well as the link between alcohol and HIV/ AIDS, road traffic fatalities and other health and societal problems.
Alcoholism also fuels poverty and reinforces gender inequalities,” said one presenter Dr Kissah Mwambene, a Mental Health Specialist.
She said it was high time different actors joined forces towards contributing to the development of a national alcohol policy, saying the prevention and reduction of alcohol-related harm was a key part of national development efforts.
“Actions to minimise alcohol related harms will contribute to multiple sustainable development goals 2030.”
TAMWA official, Gladness Munuo, exposed alcohol industry tactics in Tanzania, showing how alcohol companies are using persuasive, massive and aggressive marketing strategies to reach their customers and how they oppose evidence-based alcohol regulations.
Alcohol companies sabotage efforts to come up with national alcohol policy,” Ms Munuo said, urging legislators to support the push of alcohol policy.
The one-day seminar was also attended by the Deputy Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elders and Children, Dr Hamisi Kigwangwallah.