ZIMBABWE’S leading beverages manufacturer Delta Beverages has been implored to invest in mental health institutions as well as promote responsible drinking to reduce the burden of mental health associated ailments.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
Officiating the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Workshop in Harare on Friday, Health and Child Care Minister, Dr Obadiah Moyo said Delta should contribute to the reduction of alcohol related diseases and deaths through establishing clinics.
“And I really hope that companies like Delta should also participate. We have been saying Lets Clean Up Zimbabwe, Lets Clean Up Zimbabwe. And we have been asking companies like KFC, Chicken Inn, Chicken Slice you know those big popular companies where people get their food in containers which afterwards they throw them all over, they have to participate also.
“So, Delta, Delta, Delta, should actually be the ones who are convening such interactions as we see today and sponsoring them and coming up with clinics, assisting in the coming up of clinics because it’s all emanating from them,” he said.
He added that manufacturers of alcohol and other substances should acknowledge the dangerous effects of their products through advertising that as well.
“And at the same time they should be quite open and willing to advertise the adverse effects of these substances. So we have to talk about this holistically and when not other people hiding behind. They should come out and say for sure we are here to ensure that whatever we produce is taken in moderation, then we are doing the good thing. Then we are doing the right thing,” Dr Moyo said.
While there are illicit substances such as cough mixtures, anti-psychotics, and other high alcoholic volume spirits, participants and speakers acknowledged that Delta and cigarette manufacturers were equally responsible for substance misuse disorders.
According to HealthLine, Women who drink alcohol during pregnancy can give birth to babies with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, sometimes known as FASDs. FASD is the umbrella term for a range of disorders. These disorders can be mild or severe and can cause physical and mental birth defects. Types of FASDs include, fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), partial fetal alcohol syndrome, alcohol-related birth defects, alcohol-related neurodevelopment disorder, and neurobehavioral disorder associated with prenatal alcohol exposure
“FAS is a severe form of the condition. People with FAS may have problems with their vision, hearing, memory, attention span, and abilities to learn and communicate. While the defects vary from one person to another, the damage is often permanent,” says HealthLine.
Delta’s Corporate Affairs Executive Ms Patricia Murambinda told HealthTimes their customers do not drink in excess despite a few who abuse beer.
“The majority of our consumers enjoy beer in moderation with friends and families. There is however a minority who drink too much putting themselves and people around them at risk of harm.
“The decision whether to drink and, if so, how much to drink is a personal one. One should consult with their doctor or primary health care provider who can help one understand their personal risk profile and advise them as to whether drinking in moderation can be consistent with their personal health plan,” she said.
She added that they participate in campaigns against alcohol abuse.
“The Company, as part of the global alcoholic beverages manufacturers has a particular focus on combating the harmful use of alcohol, such as drink-driving, under-age drinking and drinking during pregnancy. These programs include information on alcohol levels in the product, use of warning icons, warning messages on adverts or beer literature,” said Murambinda.
Murambinda said for people with particular health issues or a family history of certain diseases, the best course of action is to refrain from drinking altogether.
“In addition, it is clear that Pregnant women should abstain from drinking, underage people should not drink, excessive consumption of alcohol should be avoided and no one should drive or operate heavy machinery after drinking,” she said.