Local NGO pleads for no alcohol to under 18

While the World celebrates the Alcohol Free Day on each October 2nd, Burundi Alcohol Policy Alliance urges the government to establish a law governing alcohol consumption as it is a reality among young people in the country.

Séraphine Manirambona: « Not only do young people drink, but also they become drunk.”

Séraphine Manirambona, Chairperson for Burundi Alcohol Policy Alliance-BAPA says it has been proved that drinking to excess among young people is a reality in Burundi.
According to a survey conducted in Cankuzo and Kayanza provinces by two organizations “Scouts” and “Guide” in 2017, it was revealed that 66,7% of young people under 14 already drank alcohol. “Not only they drink, but also they become drunk,” she says.

She also says over 74% of the interviewees confirmed that they find easily alcohol near their localities. “Parents are sometimes prime mover of first taste,” she regrets.
F.M, 18, starts drinking when he was 3. “My parents always drank beer at midday and I was always there to taste”, he says. Thus, it became a habit as long as he grew up. A.N, 17, says to be trained by his friends. “My friends sometimes organize parties and we easily share beers,” he says.

BAPA chairperson says alcohol consumption at early age has several bad effects on young people. “It becomes very difficult to follow easily their studies and adopt bad behavior including theft,” she says. She also adds that drinking to excess causes physical and mental fatigue.

For her, parents must play an important role in sensitizing young people to the impacts of drinking alcohol at the early age. “Teaching staff should also intervene by including lessons related to the negative impacts of alcohol consumption among young people,” she says.

Séraphine Manirambona calls on the government to establish a bill governing the production, sale and consumption of alcohol. “There must be limited places selling alcohol drinking which should prevent young people under 18 from having access to alcohol”, she concludes.

According to a report released by the World Health Organization –WHO in 2018, more than 3 million people died as a result of harmful use of alcohol in 2016. Overall, the harmful use of alcohol causes more than 5% of the global disease burden.