Government must be wary of alcohol industry – CSOs
Civil society organisations (CSOs) have urged the government to be cautious of promises by alcohol industry of protecting the health and safety of consumers.
They said they were deeply worried about a meeting held between the industry and government agencies, and that the alcohol industry had a clear conflict of interest.
The meeting brought together participants from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Information, the Food and Drugs Authority including producers and advertisers where the industry players promised to “raise alcohol marketing and advertising standards to protect the health and safety of consumers.”
Mr Issah Ali, the Executive Director of the Vision for Alternative Development (VALD), gave the advice on behalf of the Ghana NCD Alliance, Ghana Alcohol Policy Alliance, and IOGT International in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Friday.
He said: “Firstly, our government should not have met with the alcohol industry to discuss health and development policy making” and admonished the government to be cautious of the industry.
Mr Ali called on the government to protect all citizens but not just consumers, adding that alcohol marketing was harmful to everybody, especially children and the youth, and that its advertisement, sponsorship and promotion should be banned in the country.
He said normalisation of alcohol use would encourage more people to take up to its consumption.
Mr Labram Musah, the National Coordinator of the Ghana NCD Alliance, said alcohol consumption contributed to road crashes leading to death, injury and disability.
“Alcohol and its related health and social implications are live-threatening and as such our health institutions must not be seen engaging the industries whose products inflict such harm,” he stated.
Mr Musah said research had shown that self-regulation in the alcohol industry did not work as it was more about protecting its self-interest than the wellbeing of children, youth and society as whole.
Self-regulation has been promoted by the alcohol industry as a sufficient means of regulating alcohol marketing activities and have focused on areas like drunk driving, underage drinking among others.