By Kabuye Ronald
The newly launched Uganda Alcohol Report has revealed that an estimate of 5,671,785- 12,666,986 people drink alcohol in the country and that a total of 110.6 million liters of alcohol is consumed annually in Uganda.
The new report was conducted by the Uganda Alcohol Policy Alliance and launched at the 3rd Uganda Alcohol Policy Conference 2022 (UAPC22) by the State Minister for Primary Health Care Margret Muhanga in Kampala. The conference which runs from 23rd to 25th, November is held under the theme: Building Momentum for Control of Alcohol Harm in Uganda: “Walking the Talk”.
The report revealed that pure Alcohol per capita consumption stands at: general population 9.4 liters, among population of 15+ years stands at 12.5l liters, among drinkers aged 15+years stands at 25.8 liters. The Alcohol consumption among those aged 15+ years: Used alcohol at least once in their life time- 52.6%. Current alcohol drinkers stand at 36.3%.
The heavy Episodic drinking stands at 20.7% among those with 15+ years, 56.9% among drinkers of 15+ years, 14.3% among 15- 19 years, 60.7-90% among drinkers only of 14-19years While the Alcohol consumption across genders: males stand at 17-49% and Females at 7%-24% with the nature of alcohol consumed standing at 11% for beer, 3% for spirits, 1% for wines and those that cannot be categorized alcohol at 89%.
The informal alcohol estimated annual production stands at 67.7 million liters, the informal alcohol in the alcohol beverage market share stands at 52% with estimated value of is shs 2 trillion and estimated annual government tax revenue lost due to illicit alcohol sales-around stands at Shs 16 billion.
The report indicates the prevalence of any alcohol use among University students’ stands at 31% and the ever used alcohol in secondary schools stands at 70%.
The most alcohol consuming regions include Karamoja at 46%,West Nile 16%, Teso 14%, Elgon 13.8%, South Buganda 13.2%, North Buganda 13%, Acholi 12%, Lango 12%, Bunyoro 11.7%, Kigezi 9.5%, Tooro 9%, Kampala 8.8%, Ankole 8.1%, bukedi 6.9% and Busoga 4%.
On the related harm of alcohol, the report attributed a total of 7% death to alcohol, an average Ugandan
Loosing 5 years of life in their life time due to alcohol related mortalities or morbidities. Alcohol related liver Cirrhosis stands at 2,861, road traffic injuries 3,900 and cancers at 1514.
As regards to Alcohol use disorder AUD: general prevalence stands at 7.1% (3,290,000), estimated prevalence among alcohol drinkers stands at 26%, substances users reporting for treatment with AUD diagnosis stands at 73%, daily alcohol consumers among drinkers at 20%, drinkers who desire to reduce their alcohol consumption 70.4% and High prevalence AUD among men than women.
The report emphasizes that Alcohol industry activities continues to aggressively market their products with growing emphasizes on young people. For instance, 23% of advertisements identified around schools were for alcoholic beverages.
The report also indicates that only 14.6% of the districts in Uganda have local ordinances and where they exist, only 50% of the population are aware of ordinances restricting alcohol use.
The report indicated that there are declining but high trends of alcohol consumption in the general public and among young people. In addition to alcohol being widely available and easily accessible and hence wide spread alcohol harm including high rates of mortality and morbidity.
The report also says that various laws exist but are rarely enforced, uncoordinated and outdated and rarely enforced yet the alcohol industry consistently violates set guidelines.