By A Correspondent| The Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance in Zimbabwe (SAAPA ZW) has raised serious concerns about the rapid proliferation of liquor stores in Harare and other urban areas with the escalating trend viewed as a significant threat to public health, safety, and overall societal well-being.
This follows a recent article in a local daily highlighting the surge of liquor shops in Harare with the outlets becoming focal points for criminal activities, drug sales, and prostitution.
In response, SAAPA ZW called on the government to act quickly and adopt an evidence-based alcohol policy that aligns with global strategy and the WHO S.A.F.E.R initiative to curb the growing harm from alcohol consumption.
SAAPA ZW called on the government to limit the number and strategic placement of liquor shops, particularly in residential and high-risk areas, and to restrict advertising and promotion of alcohol.
“Strengthening restrictions on alcohol availability by limiting the number, location, and hours of operation of liquor shops, especially in residential and high-risk areas.
“Advancing and enforcing drink driving counter measures by enacting and enforcing strong drink-driving laws and low blood alcohol concentration limits via sobriety checkpoints and random breath testing are some of the measures from the WHO SAFER initiative being advocated SAAPA ZW,” SAAPA ZW Coordinator Tungamirai Zimonte said.
Zimonte further urged the government to implement price hikes on alcohol by adopting a pricing model based on the amount of pure alcohol content, with the revenue generated being allocated to public health and social development programs.
“SAAPA ZW advocates for raising prices on alcohol by implementing excise taxes and pricing policies based on the amount of pure alcohol content in a product. The revenue generated from these measures should be allocated to public health and social development programs,” Zimonte added.
On 2 October, the world commemorated the World No Alcohol Day, a day set aside to spread awareness of the negative effects of alcohol.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the harmful use of alcohol is responsible for three million deaths annually. In addition, regular consumption of alcohol is linked with high blood pressure, liver disease, stroke, and diverse types of cancer.