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EPHA president called on relevant government bodies to take urgent steps to control alcohol, tobacco and other harmful substances across the country (1 November 2011, Addis Ababa).

In her welcoming address at the 22nd EPHA annual conference the EPHA president Dr Tewabech Bishaw stated that theuse of addictive substances has adverse health and socio-economic risks and outcomes like liver disease cancers and substance dependence syndrome and host of other debilitating and communicable but still life threatening diseases.

“We are witnessing a fast expansion of shops both in urban and rural communities of shops retailing Khat, tobacco, Shisha and other related addictive Substances.”

These shops are even located near the schools, training centers and institutions of higher learning, the president added.

“The recommendations by participants of the mass walk and of the conference on alcohol, tobacco and substance will be presented to the Ministry of Health and to key stakeholders for their urgent action,” the president stressed.

The president recalled that on 30 October 2011 the Association in collaboration with Save Your Generation Ethiopia organized a mass walk that took place from lideta up to national stadium.

“The purpose of the mass walk was to increase public awareness, especially among the youth, on the harmful effects of alcohol, tobacco and other substances; and to call all key players and decision makers to take to protect children, the youth and the public from this fast spreading epidemic with major public health and socio economic consequences,” Dr Tewabech said.

The president said that EPHA with the support from CDC and, in collaboration with many other partners, is implementing projects aimed at promoting and coordinating public education campaigns to reinforcing and enacting legislation on national alcohol and substance abuse policy and regulation.