A national policy to regulate the production, distribution, sale, advertisement and consumption of alcohol has been launched in Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital on Friday.
Minister of Health Atupele Muluzi launched the National Alcohol Policy which among other things will help to check alcohol abuse.
Speaking during the function which took place at Kantchito Primary School Ground, in the area of Traditional Authority Kamenyagwaza in Dedza District, Minister of Health Atupele Muluzi clarified that Government is not banning the alcohol consumption as people have been speculating.
“With the policy in place, communities will be supported and empowered to use their local knowledge and expertise in adopting effective approaches to prevent and reduce the harmful use of alcohol,” said Muluzi.
Muluzi said since 1979, Malawi has enacted a range of legislative documents aimed at reducing alcohol abuse but most of the provisions therein are outdated such that they do not conform to the current international standards.
He said Malawi like any parts of the world is suffering under the increasingly excessive use of alcohol.
Current statistics according to Muluzi indicate that 30% of men and 4% of women between the ages of 24 and 64 are drunkers.
The survey also found that 19% men and 2% of women are heavily drinkers.
Muluzi said the policy document feeds into the National Action Plan on the prevention and control of Non Communicable Diseases.
The governent of Malawi in conjunction with Drug Fight Malawi, a local non-governmental organization advocating for reduction of drugs’ and alcohol abuse started developing the National Alcohol policy long time ago.
According to the WHO Global Status Report of 2014, alcohol abuse is a major global concern, contributing to death, disease and injury among people.
The Malawi Cabinet approved the National Alcohol Policy on January 26, 2017. The Liquor Act (1979) and the Road Traffic, Taxation and Consumer Protection Acts are current legislation that talks about alcohol.
In his speech , Southern Africa Alcohol Policy Alliance chair, Phillip Chimphonda urged the Malawi Government to fully implement the policy.
Chimphonda says it is easy to have the policy document but implementation is another issue.
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