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Sierra Leone
Friday, January 28, 2022

‘Alcohol key in perpetuating violence’

- says Peace and Conflict Studies head

October 2015 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

Head of the Peace and Conflict Studies Department at Fouray Bay College, University of Sierra Leone yesterday averred that the use of alcohol has played a key role in perpetuating violence during times of peace and war in the country.

Madam Memunatu Pratt, who was speaking at the official launch of the National Alcohol Policy by the Sierra Leone Alcohol Policy Alliance (SLAPA) with support from FORUT at the Miatta Conference Center in Freetown, said globally the harmful use of alcohol is a public health priority and that one of the objectives of the World Health Organisation is to reduce the burden of harmful use of alcohol.

According to her, the global strategy on the reduction of alcohol defines harmful use as drinking that causes detrimental health and social consequences for the drunkard and the people around him, as well as the society at large, and the patterns of drinking that are associated with increased risk of health outcome.

“The consumption of alcohol and its related problems vary widely around the world but its attendant impacts on death are significant,” she noted. “Throughout the world, harmful use of alcohol is ranked among the risk factors of disease, disability and death.”

Ms. Pratt further pointed out that the consumption and production of alcohol does not only have a health impact but also creates disorders and their outcome on individuals. She said there are a number of factors responsible at the individual and societal levels that can increase the alcohol consumption pattern in society.

She opined that adolescent and elderly people are typically more vulnerable to alcohol related problems than other age groups, adding that it is more serious in the case of women as it causes severe health and social consequences on newborn.

In his statement, Chief Executive Director of FORUT, Ms. Boi-Jeneh Jalloh, said the launch was meant to chart the way forward on how to implement a policy that can help tackle the use of alcohol in the country, especially among school going children.

She said they have been working in Sierra Leone for over 20 years with the aim of empowering men, women and children to fight poverty, corruption, injustice and alcohol through social mobilisation, advocacy, capacity building, and the provision of services for long-term development.

Administrative Officer in the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Aiah J.P. Lebbie, in his remarks, said as a ministry that works with school children, they welcome the launch of the policy as it would help address some of the problems faced by pupils in school.

“Alcohol beverages which are sold in small sachets are the most dangerous ones affecting school going children because they are cheaper. Most of the accidents happening in the country are caused by alcohol,” he alleged.

Country Representative of the World Health Organisation, Dr. Daniel Kertesz, said the harmful use of alcohol in the country is another war that needs urgent attention as the country is on the verge to be declared Ebola free on Saturday November 7.

He revealed that two million five hundred people die globally every year because of diseases related to alcohol consumption.

Statement was also made by the Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation 1, Foday Lahai Sawi, who assured of their commitment to work closely with the SLAPA in ensuring that the harmful use of alcohol is tackled in the country.

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