Sierra Leone

Lawmakers urged to enact Policy on Alcohol

February 7, 2020

By Jariatu S. Bangura

The Chairman of the Sierra Leone Alcohol Policy Alliance (SLAPA) together with FoRUT, has urged Members of Parliament to enact policy that would help regulate the conduct and production of alcohol across the country.

Ibrahim Kamara said  every Sierra Leonean must be able to achieve his dream without the influence of alcohol, thus urging lawmakers to support the development and implementation of a national policy.

He said the policy was formed in 2015 with  the collaborations of 18 civil society organisations cross the region, noting that the policy would help to regulate the conduct and production of alcohol nationwide.

He opined that the excessive consumption of alcohol is a call for concern as the government flagship scheme-the free quality educations won’t  succeed if there is no policy in place that would address alcohol intake because most school going children are addicted to alcohol.

“If you go around schools, you will see ghettoes and no government would want to see after investing so much on human capital and in the end nothing tangible can be shown for it. As the people’s representatives, we are craving to see how best you will support this course and by extension legislation,” he said.

He said 80% of road accidents are attributed to the intake of alcohol by drivers and that the high rate of domestic violence and theft across the country are caused by the influence of alcohol.

Quoting a survey done by the World Health Organization (WHO), the chairman  said the consumption of alcohol contributes to 3 million deaths each year globally as well as to the disabilities and poor health condition of millions of people.

He said the survey revealed that overall, harmful use of alcohol is responsible for 5.1% of the global burden of disease, adding that the excessive intake of alcohol leads to sexual risk behaviour and youth comes in conflict with the law especially during electioneering process.

Executive Director of FoRUT, Madam Boi- Jeneh Jallaoh said SLAPA has been the lead advocate in the fight against the high use of alcohol both at national and regional levels, and has also developed position papers on the control of alcohol.

She said through the help of the Ministry of Health, they would attend a conference in Geneva in May together with seven other Asian countries, to develop international instrument on alcohol.

She pleaded with Members of Parliament to support the course for government to make policies that would be of help to the country and its populace.

Hon. Daniel B Koroma commended the work done by FoRUT over the years which he said is a good example for other NGOs to follow, thus assuring of their support.

However, Hon. Hindolo M. Gevao said the negative impact that the substance is causing among people in the society is alarming.

He said there are no rehabilitation centres across the country that will help address the abusers of alcohol substance as compared to Ghana and other countries with such facilities.

He stated that most of the producers and manufacturers that are destroying the lives of Sierra Leoneans are not citizens and that the monies they generate are taken to their various countries, leaving people to perish.