Situation Analysis of Alcohol Control Policy in Five African Countries
Alcohol use is a major risk factor for premature deaths and disabilities in low and middle-income countries. This research will evaluate alcohol control policy and legislation in five African countries to provide evidence-based research to policymakers, researchers, and lobby groups working to reduce alcohol use. While Africa has relatively high alcohol abstention rates, 25% of Africans drinkers are heavy episodic drinkers-the highest proportion in the world. Alcohol abuse is closely linked to poverty. It is therefore a key area for intervention to support Africa's efforts to achieve its development goals. The socio-economic costs of alcohol misuse are significant. They include the costs to: -governments, such as medical care and policing; -businesses, through absenteeism and low productivity; and, -families, who bear the financial and psychological costs. The role of the alcohol industry in setting policy The alcohol industry's close involvement in developing alcohol policies in several African countries has resulted in industry-friendly policies targeting individual problem drinkers, rather than the availability of alcohol. It is therefore critical to document and evaluate the nature and impact of alcohol promotion, policy, and legislation in Africa. This research will achieve that goal and provide feedback to policymakers. The findings will contribute to preventing and reducing alcohol-related harm in the region. The project team will select five countries for study and identify, in consultation with IDRC, local research teams. The research will involve a multi-country analysis of alcohol policy, legislation, and implementation. The research teams will also conduct stakeholder analyses in the five countries using standardized research tools. This project forms part of the International Alcohol Control Study. It will cover the first part of the study, namely the Alcohol Environment Protocol. The protocol focuses on four areas of alcohol policy and legislation: -availability of alcohol; -taxation and other factors that can influence the price and affordability of alcohol; -drink driving; and, -marketing and promoting alcohol. The University of Cape Town (UCT) will host the umbrella project and will provide training, scientific support, and ethical oversight. It will help synthesize the data across countries and support the writing of an academic journal article on the cross-country analysis. UCT will also administer the country-level research funds.