Vision for Alternative Development (VALD), in partnership with IOGT International, has held a day’s civil society workshop in Accra on Alcohol Prevention and Control aimed at appealing to government to regulate alcohol use in Ghana.
The workshop brought together civil society organisations working on alcohol control, prevention and treatment to build their capacities to ensure global best practices and set up a common front to advocate for effective alcohol control in Ghana.
Mr Issah Ali, the Executive Director of VALD, said alcohol was rated as the second risk factor to non-communicable diseases.
He said the direct cost of harm generated by alcohol on households were often considerable and frequently underestimated which put great burden on development.
Mr Ali said: “In Ghana, the terms of laws and programmes to control alcohol exist but the implementation is weak, so we are consulting amongst ourselves and see how we can strengthen it.
“In addition to the strengthening we want to make sure it is implemented effectively but currently the implementation is not that strong because advertisement is going on and more products are being introduced to lure the youth and minors into drinking.
“All these things are not helping us as a country and now that we are moving into a middle income country we need to get healthier and strong citizens.
“How can you grow an economy if your manpower is drunkards or alcoholic? How long will they live to sustain the economy?”
Mr Ali said to address the situation there would be the formation of Ghana Alcohol Policy Alliance, submit proposals on the Draft Alcohol Regulations (Legislative Instrument) and monitor and report on alcohol industry activities.
Others, he said, were to engage government on effective alcohol regulations, conduct/compile related research from the universities and use for alcohol policy advocacy.
Ms Kristina Sperkova, the President of the International Board of IOGT International, said alcohol was a major obstacle to sustainable human development killing 3.3 million people worldwide every year.
“This infers every 10 seconds a human being dies because of alcohol. This represents 5.9 per cent of all deaths,” she said.
Ms Sperkova said through its multiple health, social and economic impacts, alcohol was an obstacle to achieving 12 out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
She said it was a cross-cutting, harmful factor in areas of the Agenda 2030 including eradicating poverty and hunger and ensuring healthy live.