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July 12, 2024
Kampala Daily

‘Uganda spends sh2.6 trillion treating drunkards’

The health ministry says the country spends over $677m (about shillings 2.6 trillion) to treat diseases caused by alcohol consumption.

Primary health care state minister Margaret Muhanga made the revelations on March 5, 2024, while appearing before the joint parliamentary committees of Trade and health to give the ministry’s views on the Alcoholic Control Bill.

Muhanga informed the committee that the 2014 nationwide steps noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) risk factor survey revealed that 28.9 percent of adults aged between 18 and 69 years consume alcohol but that this figure increased to 31.1 percent by 2023.

However, it should be noted that NCDs are also caused by other factors other than alcohol according to the World Health Organisation. Tobacco use (smoking), physical inactivity, unhealthy diets, and air pollution all increase the risk of dying from an NCD.

NCDs, also known as chronic diseases, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), tend to be of long duration and are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental, and behavioral factors.

The main types of NCD are cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma), and diabetes.

WHO adds that NCDs disproportionately affect people in low- and middle-income countries, where more than three-quarters of global NCD deaths (31.4 million) occur.

Muhanga proposed the legal age for the sale and consumption of alcohol to be raised from 18 to 21 years saying the brain of a person continues to develop throughout adolescence and into early twenties and this period can have a lasting effect on the cognitive function, memory and decision making of a person.


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