CSOs call on FDA to expedite action on alcoholic beverage regulations

By
Albert Allotey, GNA

Accra, Jan. 22, GNA
– Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) led by Vision for Alternative Development
(VALD) have called on Food and Drugs Authority and Ministry of Health to
expedite action on the development of alcoholic beverage regulations.

The other CSOs are
Ghana Alcohol Policy Alliance, Ghana NCD Alliance, Community Health Support
Team, and Institute for Leadership and Development, Tax Advocacy Network for
Health Promotion, and Media Alliance in Tobacco Control and Health.

Speaking in an interview
with the Ghana News Agency, Mr Labram Musah, the Programmes Director of VALD,
said the regulations, which were to regulate advertisement, marketing,
accessibility and affordability were on the draft stage for several years.

Currently, he said
alcohol advertisements were only restricted on television and radio from 0600
hours to 2000 hours, “yet alcohol adverts are on bill boards and the products
are being sold everywhere without any restriction.”

With GH¢1.00 or less
one could buy alcoholic beverage, making it one of the cheapest products in
Ghana.

According to the
World Health Organisation (WHO),over three million people die from alcohol use
annually and in Ghana 94,000 people die from non-communicable diseases and that
alcohol was one of the major risk factors.

“Ghanaians are dying
needlessly due to the negligence on the part of some agencies in the health
sector,” Mr Musah said. “Meanwhile, there are less or no cost interventions
that can be put in place to protect current and future generations from
products that have no health benefits to them.”

He said there were
many policies and regulations on various aspects of alcohol including;
production and sales scattered in several legislations, so there was need to
pool all the laws into one codified document (Public Health Act).

Alcoholic beverage
industry over the years has employed many strategies and tactics targeted at
children to advance their marketing and sale of deadly products.

In a related
development, the Alcohol Policy Alliance-Ghana (GhanaAPA), had called for the
exclusion of alcoholic beverage industry from the Corporate Social
Responsibility (CSR) policy to prevent them from promoting their products
popular.

It said the industry
deliberately established non-governmental organisations that promoted the
consumption of alcohol, especially among the youth, through CSR programmes.

Mr Issah Ali, the
Head of the West African Alcohol Policy Alliance who made the call, said the
increase in alcohol intake was an obstacle to achieving the Sustainable
Development Goals and leading to productivity losses through absenteeism,
injuries and mortality.

GNA

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