Over-drinking finishing off Tanzanians

Dr Rashid
Over five million Tanzanians drink too much, posing a threat to their health, family life and productivity, a survey conducted between February and October has indicated.

According to deputy minister for Health and Social Welfare Seif Seleman Rashid, the situation is now catastrophic, and the government has been forced to embark on a special programme to tackle the problem in conjunction with the World Health Organisation.

“Over drinking is now a big problem that needs urgent solution and the government has already put plans in place to face the challenge,” Dr Rashid told the Parliament in Dodoma yesterday. Excessive drinking is reportedly rampant among men, as 3.6 million of them are categorised as alcoholic while women in this group are 1.7 million.

The deputy minister admitted that the government cannot stop adults from drinking; adding that it can only urge them to drink responsibly.

“As a government, there is little we can do on this matter, consumers should understand the side- effects of too much alcohol and decide what to do on their own,” said the deputy minister. About 29 per cent of Tanzanians, equivalent to 13.1 million people, consume alcohol, the deputy minister noted.

He added that the government, through his ministry, has already instructed all regional hospitals to lay modalities of treating non-communicable diseases, including alcoholism and drug addiction.

The deputy minister was responding to Mr Abdallah Haji Ali (Kiwani-CCM), who wanted to know if the government plans to ban alcohol.

The MP said alcohol was leading to a rise in accidents, deaths, rape and social strife. The deputy minister, however, noted that excessive drinking was a global problem, whereby at least two million people die annually due to excessive alcohol use. The minister did not give data for Tanzania.

Meanwhile, Nurses at the Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute (MOI) are susceptible to chronic back pain as an outcome of their work of treating the ever-increasing number of boda-boda accident victims.

This was noted yesterday during commemoration of the World Nurses Day at MOI, where the medics said due to the rise in bodaboda accidents, patients are forced to lay on the floor because of inadequate of beds.

For every three motor accident patients MOI receives, bodaboda is blamed for two. It receives up to 650 accident victims, 433 of whom are either bodaboda drivers, passengers or pedestrians knocked by bodabodas.

Nurses who are the first line care givers spend most of their time bending down when providing services.

Speaking during the ceremony, the president of Tanzania National Nurses Association, Mr Paul Magesa, said the government must take measures to curb bodaboda accidents.
Source: The Citizen, a joint report from Dodoma and Dar es Salaam
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