The Uganda Paediatrics Association (UPA) members on Thursday voiced their concerns in regard to the non-regulation of alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking in Uganda saying this contributes largely to deaths caused by Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
The UTA members made the remarks in Kampala during a two day’s 14th Scientific Conference under the theme: “Paediatrics and Child Health in the area of Non-Communicable Diseases”.
In her opening remarks, the Minister of Health Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, said cigarette and beer manufacturing companies have been giving her ministry hard times as they often run to courts of law to defend cigarettes and beer consumption in order to defend their businesses.
She added that; the Health ministry has tabled a limited Alcohol Consumption Policy Bill in Parliament and will soon be enacted into Law to curb irresponsible consumption of alcohol in the entire country.
“As for public Cigarettes smokers, the Tobacco Control Act was enacted in 2015 and there is need for all stakeholders to enforce the Act, to protect children who start smoking at an early age”, she said.
Dr Bodo Bongomin, World Health Organization (WHO) Country officer, in charge of Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition, laboured to enumerate types of common NCDs in Uganda, which include: stroke, cancer, diabetes and respiratory diseases among others.
He said 1.6 children die yearly of malnutrition related diseases in the world.
He added that breastfeeding rates are still low in developing countries; further saying; poverty and poor health largely contribute to infant mortality.
“We need to look at prevention, as many children die of passive smoking”, he said. He recommended for increase in prices of cigarettes and beer to reduce on the number of people engaged in the habit.
“In addition, measures should be put in place to educate the public against irresponsible alcohol consumption and cigarettes smoking on media, as it’s done in Thailand”, he added, pointing out that alcohol consumption should start at 5 pm and those below the age of 18 should not be served with alcohol in bars.