A civil society group campaigning against alcohol consumption is set to push for the passage of a Legislative Instrument (LI) to back the law on alcohol use in Ghana.
The move, according to Ghana Alcohol Policy Alliance (GhanAPA), a network of civil society organisations (CSOs) is to help enforce the law on alcohol use.
The Alliance is into alcohol prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and control in Ghana and also affiliated to the West African Alcohol Policy Alliance (WAAPA) and the Ghana Non-Communicable Disease Alliance (GhNCDA).
Speaking at the launch, Chairman of GhanAPA, Benjamin Anabila said they intend to embark on massive public education campaign risks involved in abusing alcohol.
He noted that it was the alliance’s solemn pledge to offer help to people in the habit of abusing alcohol, as well as get persons dependent on alcohol to quit and be rehabilitated.
Mr. Anabila noted that, they would ensure the implementation of the World Health Organisation’s global strategy by encouraging and promoting abstinence, reduction in consumption and to advocate the regulation of production, marketing, advertisement and sales of alcoholic beverages.
He stated that, the alliance, also, had the objective of bringing together organisations working in the area of health and advocacy for a coordinated programme against alcohol abuse.
Mr Anabila said it would go a long way to enhance public health and reduce the socio-economic effect of alcohol consumption.
For his part, the Chief Executive of the Mental Health Authority, Dr Akwasi Osei charged GhanAPA to push for the passage of the LI.
“As an Alliance, we have a major role to play by ensuring that the LI is passed to manage the alcoholic beverage advertisements on our radios and televisions. It is not true that alcohol makes people strong and powerful” he stated
He bemoaned how alcohol abuse has put a heavy burden on the health system of the country and needed to be addressed as early as possible.
The Chief Psychiatrist said alcohol consumption caused a lot of damage to the human organs and urged the CSOs to wage a serious fight against it.
“We should not allow some cultures to influence us into alcoholism, but we should rather influence those cultures.”
Dr. Osei dispelled the assertion that alcohol makes people powerful rather, it damages the body.
The Head of Legal at the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Mrs Cynthia Dapaah, said there was the need to put in place checks and balances on the activities of local alcoholic drink producers. She, therefore, urged CSOs to share data on alcoholic drinks produced locally.
She expressed concern about the profuse advertisements on alcoholic drinks which, she said, promoted sex. She encouraged the society “to begin to protest that we don’t want this. We don’t want women who are nude on our televisions”.
Mrs Dapaah said it was against the FDA policy to site a pub 200 metres to an educational facility, and called on Ghanaians to report any such finding to the FDA for action to be taken.
She announced that the FDA was drafting a regulation on alcohol that would touch on everything to do with alcohol, adding that: “It is our wish that alcohol is banned,” but admitted nonetheless that as an institution, the FDA did not have the power to do so.