SOUTHERN Africa Alcohol Policy Alliance regional chairperson Phillip Chimponda says the National Alcohol Policy should not only be adopted but approved.
And SAAPA Zambia chapter technical advisor and public relations officer Jonas Ngulube says lack of implementation of policies should be investigated.
In an interview, Chimponda said the National Alcohol Policy was one document that would help to regulate alcohol consumption in the country.
“There are three things that we need to look at when we want to mitigate the moral degradation among the youths. One of them is to look at the individual who is using alcohol as a person who is very vulnerable. Secondly, we are saying the availability of this commodity is also another concern and lastly the environment in which the young people find themselves,” Chimponda said.
He said addressing individual behaviour change, attitudes, beliefs and alcohol consumption as one thing that could address moral degradation.
“The second thing that we are looking at is, how do we regulate the environment because the environment needs to be regulated in order to help these young people? And this is why our recommendation is that as per directive, the President should go ahead as indicated that he has the political will, he has the leadership but we also want to see commitment from him to make sure that the national alcohol policy is not only adopted but is approved. This is one document that is going to help regulate the environment,” Chimponda said.
He said the statistics from Chainama that 70 per cent of the admissions were associated with alcohol consumption was alarming.
“We know that there are people that are using other drugs but the percentage might not be as those that are using alcohol. So the recommendation is that as much as we would like also to develop policies around other substances, let’s take one step at a time and in this case, look at the National Alcohol Policy first and be able to address alcohol as major problem and then later on we can also add other drugs,” said Chimponda.
And Ngulube said there was need for the country to address policy implementation.
“If I was an investigative journalist, I would have investigated why policies are not implemented. So many [policies], youth policy, women/gender policy, empowerment policy, child health policy, reproductive health, disability policy, re-entry policy by the girls who have dropped from school, there are so many batches,” he said.
He said issues to do with alcohol were critical and that the media should pay attention to them.
“Apart from the work you do, you are parents out there, you have a family but the opportunity that you sit on to inform people about the crucial aspect of this is what I mean. Let’s not leave this agenda and look aside, I always tell people never to look aside on this issue that is pertinent to deal with. We may look aside because we need to get the money or a salary at the end of the day and increase the promotion of alcohol; we can always balance between what is necessary and what is important,” said Ngulube.