Efuribe urges Nigerian communities to reduce the emergence of ‘Night clubs’ and invest more in outdoor sports recreational/healthy living centres
If we keep opening places of over indulgence in alcohol, social drugs and shisha use, without creating awareness on the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption/risky behaviour or putting policies in place for health promotion, annual health checks, mental health assessments etc; How then are we going to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancers in our state capitals and communities.
If we continue to replace sports recreational facilities with fast food eateries and fancy restaurants, how then are we going to reduce the incidence of obesity and encourage outdoor sporting activities.
If we continue to grow a Nation of unhealthy young adults with no universal health coverage and plan for disease prevention, how then are we going to manage the rise in stroke, heart failure, diabetic complication in middle age and beyond 60.
What plans do we have to reduce ‘drink drive’ accidents and do we have a record of all accidents caused by drink driving? Do we have any limits for alcohol consumption?
These were some of the questions and dilemmas going through my mind when I read a recent headline about a new night club opening in a town which has been reported as having the highest incidence of HIV/AIDS in the south east part of the country.
Today my article is about alcohol misuse which happens to be the norm in most Nigerian communities.
As the number of well-equipped health care centres continue to dwindle in our communities, there seem to be a rise in the number of night clubs, springing up in our state capitals and major towns. It seems investors are eager to tap into the unhealthy attitudes of middle/high class Nigerians.
Top Alcoholic beverage brands use Nollywood celebrities to market their products and attract more Nigerian youths to a life of reckless alcohol consumption. But the Nigerian Government is yet to implement strict health policies to safe guard the health of the citizens. Till date a typical Nigerian Youth does not know the limit of alcohol consumption and Healthcare professionals have said they are not aware of any set limit/units.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) ‘Alcohol is a toxic and psychoactive substance with dependence producing properties. In many of today’s societies, alcoholic beverages are a routine part of the social landscape for many in the population. This is particularly true for those in social environments with high visibility and societal inﬂuence, nationally and internationally, where alcohol frequently accompanies socializing. In this context, it is easy to overlook or discount the health and social damage caused or contributed to by drinking.
Alcohol consumption contributes to 3 million deaths each year globally as well as to the disabilities and poor health of millions of people. Overall, harmful use of alcohol is responsible for 5.1% of the global burden of disease.
Harmful use of alcohol is accountable for 7.1% and 2.2% of the global burden of disease for males and females respectively. Alcohol is the leading risk factor for premature mortality and disability among those aged 15 to 49 years, accounting for 10 percent of all deaths in this age group. Disadvantaged and especially vulnerable populations have higher rates of alcohol-related death and hospitalization’.( https://www.who.int/health-topics/alcohol#tab=tab_1)
In our communities, people engage in binge drinking and drive whilst drinking leading to fatal accidents. The law against ‘drink drive ‘is not effective and offenders are not penalised or prosecuted most times. No alcohol breath test is carried out to identify drivers who are driving under the influence of alcohol.
When road traffic accidents occur due to reckless driving, people are quick to blame it on ‘blood sucking demons’ even if the driver has engaged in alcohol abuse before going behind the wheel.
This menace has got to stop.
If we must secure the health of Nigerians, we have to up our game towards providing public health initiatives that would create awareness about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption and risky behaviour.