Minister targets homebrew producers

National, Normal

The National – Tuesday, November 30, 2010

THE dangerous effects that homebrew has on its users has caught the attention of Health Minister Sasa Zibe who has vowed to get tough on informal producers, including licensed manufacturers.
His office had been receiving complaints from village and church leaders about how the consumption of homebrew had destroyed the lives of youths and their families.
Zibe announced his get-tough stand yesterday during the fourth task force meeting on the National Policy on reduce alcohol related harm.
Task force chairman Dr Uma Ambi reported that a Chimbu youth living at 2-Mile Hill, NCD, died at the Port Moresby General Hospital three weeks ago after drinking homebrew for three consecutive days.
She also quoted a report from Fr Wieslaw Dec in Chimbu of 36 people, who had died in Kerowagi district this year as a result of excessive consumption of homebrew.
This indicated how bad alcohol abuse was and drastic actions needed to take place to address this issue, Ambi, who is the principal adviser for social change and mental health services, said.
She had counselled many people even children and youths who had drinking problems and believed people could change the current trend.
She believed that the strategies set out in the policy that included advocacy, standards/regulations and counseling services that would be implemented by stakeholders involved would help reduce alcohol related harm.
According to the World Health Organization Western Pacific report, there has been a steady increase in per capita consumption in the region since the mid-1980s.
“Alcohol related harm is a major issue in the region. Based on the data from the World Health Report 2002, 5.5% of the disease burden in the region is attributable to the harmful use of alcohol, which is higher than the global level of 4%,” the report said.
“The damage caused by the harmful use of alcohol is spread evenly across the region.
“Although per capita consumption is higher in the developed countries of the region than in most of the less developed countries, the pattern of drinking in the latter is more detrimental than in the former,” the report stated.