The Alcohol Policy Alliance-Ghana (GhanAPA), a group of civil society organisations, has called on the government to expedite the passage of alcohol control legislation to help reduce motor traffic accidents in the country.
The group is of the view that alcohol consumption is one of the leading causes of motor accidents, hence calling on the Ministry of Health, Attorney General, and Parliamentary Select Committees on Health and Subsidiary legislation to consider the Alcohol Control Regulations and swiftly expedite the processes when it gets to their respective offices.
In a statement signed by the Chairman of the group, Mr. Benjamin Anabila, who is also the Director, Institute of Leadership and Development (INSLA), said “Since the development and passage of the Ghana Alcohol Policy in 2O16 which was derived from the Public Health Act 851, Ghana has not been able to enforce some level of regulations on Alcohol due to the lack of an alcohol regulation/legislation.”
He expressed the concern that globally, over three million deaths occur each years due to the harmful use of alcohol.
He explained that even though statistics from the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) for the first half of the year 2023 has shown a decline in accidents and its related deaths as compared to the same period in 2022, it was still unacceptable that many people continue to lose their lives through motor accidents.
Mr. Anabila said 1,086 people died from the 6,904 reported cases of road crashes from January to June this year, a situation he noted, ought to be remedied.
He there is the need to institute some stringent measures to curb accidents in the country, pointing out that preventing drivers from alcohol consumption will help to further reduce motor accidents in the country.
“This call is on the back of a statistics from the National Road Safety Authority for the first half of the year 2023, which was published in the national Daily Graphic of Thursday, July 13, 2023,” he said.
For him, 5.1 per cent of the global burden of disease and injury is attributable to alcohol, as measured in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), adding that “A significant proportion of the disease burden attributable to alcohol consumption arises from unintentional and intentional injuries, including those due to road traffic crashes, violence, and suicide.”
Mr. Anabila further noted that fatal alcohol-related injuries tend to occur in relatively younger age groups.
“In as much as the MTTD of the Ghana Police is doing it best with the random breath alcohol test with some limited Breathalyzer, the road crashes on our road will continue to remain with us because, there are beer bars and alcohol spots dotted around our lorry parks and institutions which is against international best practice,” he explained.
The Alcohol Policy Alliance-Ghana with some civil society organisations have been advocating for an alcohol control regulations or legislation to give the backing to the relevant authority to enforce the regulations to reduce the carnage on our roads in order to reduce morbidity and mortality.