Almost half of Ghanaian youth are into alcohol consumption – UNICEF Report

A UNICEF Situation of Adolescents in Ghana Report has indicated that in 2016 almost half of all young boys from ages 15 to 19 in Ghana engage in binge alcohol consumption.

Also, substance use among adolescents, particularly the use of tobacco and alcohol were linked to chronic health problems later in life, mainly non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as; diabetes, hypertension, and stroke among others.

This was in a statement issued by Mr Labram Musah, Programmes Director of the Vision for Alternative Development – Ghana (VALD-Ghana) to throw light on the serious health harm to children and the youth through the consumption of alcohol.

It said the conflict between promoting child rights, health, and development on one hand and making money through promotion and selling more alcohol on the other hand was playing out in public since a music producer had taken the government to court seeking to overturn a 2015 ban on alcohol promotion by celebrities.

The statement said predatory commercial exploitation that
encouraged harmful activities had been identified by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the two main crises threatening the health and future of children in every country.

It stated that in 2016, according to WHO data, 74 per cent of the adult population abstained from alcohol in the past year but other Ghanaians (mainly men) who consumed alcohol, did so heavily and that around seven per cent of men had an alcohol use disorder and, on average, 13 litres of pure alcohol per man was consumed annually.

The statement said Ghana was facing a rising burden of NCDs such as diabetes, hypertension, and stroke among others, and that health experts had linked this to unhealthy diets, cigarette smoking, alcohol use and physical inactivity.

It entreated celebrities to use their platforms to spread health promotion messages which would go a long way to protect the lives of the people, especially children and the youth.

‘Given the state of Ghana’s developmental and public health challenges, celebri
ties could be using their platforms to educate and spread health promotion messages, rather than engaging in ‘predatory commercial exploitation,” it stated.

The statement said; ‘As celebrity-led promotion of alcohol is proliferating on digital platforms, alcohol brands find easier, tailor-made, and more harmful ways to directly reach impressionable and vulnerable young people.’

It stated that in Ghana, as well as in the wider African region, and around the world, the alcohol industry was investing in using more celebrity endorsements for alcohol brand promotions – and they need returns on those investments, meaning more alcohol sales, consumption, and profits.

‘For countries like Ghana this means more harm and costs due to alcohol.’

Source: Ghana News Agency