Some CSOs in health say they are disappointed at how some celebrities and media commentators endorse and promote alcohol advertisements on social media and in mainstream media.
The disappointment according to the CSOs, emanates from the fact that these promotions are being done without recourse to impact on health of the citizenry as alcohol consumption continues to go up, especially among the youth.
The CSOs, comprising the Vision for Alternative Development (VALD-Ghana), the Ghana NCD Alliance (GhNCDA), Community Health Support Team (CHEST), and other Civil Society Actors are however pledging what they describe as “unflinching support to the Food and Drugs Authority “(FDA) for its ‘no celebrities in alcoholic beverage ads’ directive.
A statement signed by the Executive Director of Programs for the Vision for Alternative Development, Mr. Labram Musah said “We express our disappointment at how some celebrities and media commentators endorse and promote alcohol advertisements without recourse to how their actions increase alcohol consumption and impact negatively on people’s health. We doubt if the plaintiff clearly appreciates the good intentions of the Ministry of Health and Food and Drugs Authority; “protecting the health and wellbeing of Ghanaians and more especially children and the youth from adult inappropriate content”. The protection of children, and youth, as well as public health and safety, must be a primary concern for all well-meaning citizens.”
It adds that “We commend the Ministry of Health and the Food and Drugs Authority for restricting alcohol advertisements on TV and radio from 6am – 8pm as well as the ban on well-known personalities and celebrities from featuring in alcohol advertising. Indeed this remarkable directive by the FDA has raised high the profile of Ghana globally, and has been widely acknowledged for implementing one of the Best Buys of the World Health Organization (WHO) hence, the need to work rigorously towards either maintaining the standard or enhancing it.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), alcohol consumption contributes to 3.3 million deaths each year globally as well as to the disabilities and poor health of millions of people– many of them living in low- and middle-income countries, including Ghana. 94,400 people in Ghana, die from non-communicable diseases such as cancers, stroke, liver problems, cardiovascular diseases, mental disorders etc. which alcohol has been identified as one of the major risk factors. Sadly, the National Health Insurance benefits package does not comprehensively cover the expensive cost of treatment, leading many to premature deaths.