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Govt spends Shs 2.6 trillion on treating alcohol-related diseases

By Davis Mugabi

The Minister of State for Primary Health Care, Margaret Muhanga, has revealed that Uganda spends over US$677,490,337 (Shs2.654Trn) to treat alcohol-related diseases in the country.

The government now wants the legal age for alcohol consumption increased from 18 to 21 years.

“The legal drinking age is a public health measure aimed at protecting young individuals from the potential harms associated with alcohol use during the critical period of development. The brain continues to develop throughout adolescence and into the early twenties. Exposure to alcohol drinking during this critical period can have lasting effects on cognitive function, memory and decision making. You know, when most people are drunk, they make lame decisions, which they may regret later. Setting the legal drinking age at 21 helps to minimize the impact of alcohol later on developing brains,” Margaret Muhanga is quoted by Parliament Watch to have said. 

According to Muhanga, “As Ministry of Health, we use an estimate of US$677,490,337 to treat diseases that are caused by alcohol consumption, normally exacerbated by alcohol consumption.”

“We therefore propose that a clause to identify and support problems of alcohol drinkers be added in this bill.”

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