MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
A non-governmental organization; Association of Advocates Against Alcohol Harm in Nigeria (ASAAHN) has expressed its commitment towards advocacy for the control of alcohol consumption in Nigeria. It intends to partner with government relevant agencies, United Nations agencies and civil society organizations towards achieving the aim.
The Association which held its second annual general meeting (AGM) on Wednesday at Elomaz Hotel, Maryland Lagos noted that per capita consumption (in liters of pure alcohol) according to global status report increased from 11.5 in 2010 to 13.4 in 2018. Out of this figure, Nigeria scored four out of five in attributable years of life lost due to school.
At the meeting which was attended by no fewer than twenty five representatives of civil society organizations, much concern was raised on the harms the abusive consumption of alcoholic products were
causing both socially and health wise to individuals, families and society.
Apart from health implications of over indulgence in alcoholic drinks, ASAAHN members noted that more families were gradually being destroyed through the influence of alcohol by men and women who abusively indulge in it. They also pointed out the negative influence such a scenario casts on children whose parents’ lives are hanging on alcoholic consumption.
As alcohol and drug abuse are twins in the social menace parlance, ASAAHN which is a coalition of Civil Society Organizations whose main objective is to advocate for an effective alcohol policy in Nigeria is poised to promote and facilitate information sharing on alcohol and alcohol related issues.
The group is interested in initiating, facilitating and conduct research on alcohol policies and programmes. ASAAHN is also poised to empower young people to become advocates in reducing harm due to alcohol, through dialogue across the culturally diverse Nigerian populations.
As an advocacy group formed in line with West Africa Alcohol Policy Alliance (WAAPA) which was formed in 2017, ASAAHN aims at designing rehabilitation programmes for persons addicted to alcohol consumption and reduce the level of indulgence from its current level.
The group noted that even though there is currently no nationally representative household data on alcohol consumption or use in Nigeria, a recent systematic review and meta-analysis on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) and risk factors estimates the prevalence of 34.3% for harmful use of alcohol.
At the AGM, the coalition partners represented by their executive members made a review of their various achievements and challenges in the previous year with a consensus for improvements in the coming year. It was observed that many of the CSOs were financially handicapped in the execution of intended projects as funding has not been forthcoming ostensibly due to the global economic challenges.