The third regional conference to discuss progress made by each of the five East African Community (EAC) member countries in the formulation and implementation of alcohol policies will be held in Arusha from September 24 to 25, this year.
A news statement issued in Dar es Salaam said the conference with the theme “Alcohol is a problem act now” has been organized by IOGT, an International non-governmental organization which promotes a lifestyle free of alcohol.
The IOGT-NTO Movement International Institute Regional Representative, Gunnar Kraft says in a statement that the participants will share information and experiences on the impact of existing policies on alcohol within the East African Community (EAC) member countries.
According to Kraft, the conference would be officially opened by the Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Hussein Mwinyi and will be closed by EAC Secretary General, Dr Richard Sezibera. He said the conference would bring together 80 participants including the Swedish ambassador to Tanzania Dr Lennrth Hjelmaker, health expert, activists and Members of Parliament from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda Burundi and Tanzania.
The IOGT leader said international experts on alcohol from the five East African countries, Sweden and Malawi will make presentations to the meeting. He said main objective of the conference to enable participants share information and experiences on the impact of existing policies on alcohol within the East African Community (EAC) member countries.
Emerging scientific evidence has shown that alcohol is a major risk factor in many non-communicable diseases in both industrial and developing countries. The diseases include cancers affecting the digestive system, liver, and heart diseases as well as risk factor for diabetes and kidney disease.
Likewise alcohol intoxication is an important source of road traffic injuries leading to many losses of lives. Surveys have also established that alcohol fuels Gender based violence (GBV) such as rape and women battery, actions which contribute to break up of marriages and risk of HIV infection.