The government plans to work with alcohol brewing companies to peg the sale of alcohol on national identity cards as a strategy to curb underage drinking, a top official has said.
Mr Kyateka Mondo, the Assistant Commissioner in the ministry of Gender, Labour and Social development speaking at Straight Talk Foundation yesterday said, many youths are becoming alcohol addicts at a tender age due to unregulated sale of alcohol to them.
The briefing was organised by Straight Talk in partnership with Uganda Breweries Limited in the ‘Red Card’ campaign that will involve rehabilitation of alcohol addicts. “We can make little sacrifices now and we have a better future. We can’t afford losing a whole generation because of alcohol,” Mr Kyateka said.
The commissioner said government is currently struggling to stop bar owners from employing underage girls as waitresses due to weak and unimplemented laws.
The UBL Corporate Affairs, Mr Richard Wabwire said the company has already trained several retailers to only sell alcohol to people after issuing ID for age verification. “Alcohol is not for underage, the choice is for adults…we have trained retailers on responsible drinking and sell of alcohol. We will only sell after verification of age using the ID,” Mr Wabwire said.
Ms Susan Ajok, the Executive Director of Straight Talk Foundation said the partnership with UBL will ease their advocacy against underage drinking since the manufacturers are now involved in the campaign.
According to Mr Grace Bikumbi, the Butabika hospital addiction specialist and counselor, 40 percent cases of mental health reported at the hospital are as a result of excessive drinking.