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Resolution of the 22nd Annual Conference of

The Ethiopian Public Health  Association (EPHA)

On Alcohol, Substance, Khat and Tobacco.

Preamble

Recognizing the alarming nature of the public health problem that stems from excessive and unwarranted use of alcohol, substance, khat and tobacco, with a high negative impact particularly on the youth of the Nation;

Reviewing the legal and socio-economic dimensions of the problem by means of awareness creation campaigns, stimulating public concerns and engaging in active discussions through the mass media;

Working closely with and soliciting the support of relevant Government organs and stakeholders such as the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) and the Framework Convention Alliance (FCA) over the past two years;

Conducting a successful mass walk in Addis Ababa on the 30th of October 2011 along with Save Your Generation Ethiopia (SYGE) as a pre-conference event;

The Ethiopian Public Health Association (EPHA), after listening to and deliberating upon study findings and experiences of renowned experts in the area presented to  its 22ndAannual Conference held on the 1st to 3rd of November 2011 at the United Nations Conference Center (UNCC) in Addis Ababa,  has noted that:

  • Much needs to be done to bring about awareness and concern amongst the general public, policy makers, legislators and law enforcement organs;
  • The rate of consumption of these hazardous substances is increasingly on the rise from year to year;
  • Both in and out of school youths are the most affected and vulnerable group; Secondary schools and higher learning institutions are becoming hot spots of the problem;
  • Ethiopia is not only a hub for trafficking these substances through its ports of entry and exit (airports, adjacent seaports, postal services) but it has also become a major producer and consumer of these substances;
  • The geographic distribution of production and consumption of these harmful substances has widened during the past few decades; so much so that even parts of the country which were not known to have the problem are now becoming important centers of production, distribution and consumption;
  • Alcohol, substance, khat and tobacco predispose the youth to risky sexual behaviors and increase the risk of disposition to HIV and other  STIs and unwanted pregnancy, which in-turn contribute to reduced school performance and work efficiency;
  • alcohol, substance, khat and tobacco are not only limited to their immediate consequences, but are major causes of chronic non-communicable complications such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetics and chronic respiratory diseases;
  • The policy and legal environment governing the excessive use of alcohol, tobacco and the like to protect the public are lax, incomplete or non-existent;excessive There are no adequate and readily accessible counseling and rehabilitation services for those affected by the problem; and
  • There is a lack of systematically organized data collection and use of existing evidence on the problem that can inform policy formulation and help in designing intervention measures and strategies.

The conference also noted that the responsibility for getting rid of the adverse consequences of alcohol, substances, khat and tobacco  falls not only on the health sector but equally on the family, civil society organizations, religious leaders, the education system (public and private), the media, all socio-economic sectors and ultimately on each of us and particularly the youth.

In view of the above and encouraged by the request forwarded in the opening address of the State Minister of Health of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to convey the outcome of the deliberations of the Conference to his Ministry, it is hereby resolved as follows.

Resolution

1. Increase awareness and concern of policy makers/ legislators, law enforcement agencies and the larger public including the youth on the adverse consequences of alcohol, substance, khat and tobacco on a sustainable basis.

2. Enact and strengthen laws and regulations that would be instrumental in protecting the wider public from the adverse consequences of alcohol and substances abuse by:

a. Specifying the minimum legal age for alcohol sale and consumption.

b. Expediting ratification of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

c. Prohibiting the consumption and distribution in any form of alcohol substance and tobacco use    in public places like schools, health facilities and work places.

d. Banning advertisements of alcohol and tobacco through the means of the mass media.

3.     Strengthen and expand service facilities to provide counseling, psycho-social support and treatment, rehabilitation and other services for people affected by the problem.

4. Strengthen systematically organized data collection through operational research and the use of available evidence on the problem that can inform policy formulation and intervention means.

5. Use every opportunity to teach and publicize the adverse consequences especially in the curriculum development and training of health services.

6. Look for alternative income generation schemes for those who are dependent for their livelihood in the production and distribution of the harmful substances as a long term solution.

7.    Establish/strengthen existing multi-sectoral national forums to monitor and follow up the implementation of activities intended to get rid of the adverse consequences of these detrimental substances.

The General Assembly of the EPHA finally recommended that this Resolution be submitted to the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) and other relevant organs including the House of Peoples’ Representatives, Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MoLSA), Ministry of Education (MoE), Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs (MoWCY), Ministry of Trade (MoT), Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), Ministry of Federal Affairs (MoFA), and Ministry of Government Communications (MoGC) for their appropriate actions and decisions.

The Conference further entrusted the Executive Board and Secretariat of the EPHA with the responsibility of collaborating with the Government, sister professional associations, other civil society organizations (CSOs) and all concerned in the realization of this Resolution.

EPHA’s 22nd Annual Conference

United Nations Conference Center (UNCC)

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia