Our attention has been drawn to the above titled article by Dr. Nii Moi Thompson on the adverse effects of alcoholism in Ghana published on Saturday, November 22, 2008.
While the article rightly lists possible effects of alcoholism, it does not suggest causes for the sad spectacle except to infer that advertising of alcoholic beverages could be contributing to the problem.
While it is prohibitive to use public figures for advertising as well as "adopting more brazen and certainly dangerous methods of marketing" alcohol, as we have clearly seen and heard on our airwaves, it is still difficult to make a direct link between alcoholism and advertisement, especially as we do not have that empirical data yet.
We do not for instance know the size of the informal alcohol economy which does not advertise, but which many media reports have always identified to be responsible for many ailments. I have not heard about advertisement of any alcohol-based concoctions like "yellow" or "gbe gbee" (kill the male organ) or "gbe yoi" (kill the lady) "that are peddled as appetizers and aphrodisiacs" which were responsible for "prolonged erection" of the male organ of the young men Korle Bu Teaching Hospital hosted.
However, it is important to mention that steps are being taken by a few but major alcohol beverage producers to ensure a healthy regulation of the industry and a responsible self-regulated alcohol association. Attempts were made to include many dodgy backyard producers as well. The result is a national alcohol policy and a budding National Alcohol Association.
This writer and his organization, IMANI facilitated many national alcohol workshops with relevant stakeholders all aimed at producing a national alcohol policy which has been blessed by the Ministry of Health and presently before Cabinet.
It is our hope that the policy would be given due recognition and ascent before Parliament rises in late December.
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