Vision for Alternative Development (VALD) and other Civil Society Organizations including the Ghana Alcohol Policy Alliance (Ghana PA), Ghana NCD Alliance (GhNCDA), Community Health Support Team (CHEST), Institute for Leadership and Development, Tax Advocacy Network for Health Promotion, Media Alliance in Tobacco Control and Health (MATCOH) has added its voice to the “recent unfortunate comment from Wendy Shay calling on Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) to lift the ban preventing celebrities in alcohol advertisement”.
“We support the FDA position on the ban,” a joint statement from the organizations noted.
Accordingtto them, they are disappointed and troubled over the comment by Wendy Shay, as such, she must apologize to all the youth and young people.
“She must also apologies to the poor and vulnerable who have died and those currently suffering from chronic non communicable diseases (NCDs) such as the cancers, stroke, liver problems, cardiovascular diseases and are unable to pay for treatment because it is very expensive”.
Their call on the songstress to apologize stem from the fact that the ban on celebrities from taking part in alcohol adverts on television and radio is primarily to protect children from alcohol harm and destruction.
“Yet she call on the FDA to lift the ban without recognizing the negative effects alcohol has on us as humans. Secondly the fact that she was only concerned about her personal gains and interest and not public health and good of our children and the youth who the law seeks to protect”.
“Currently, alcohol advert is only restricted on TV and radio from 6am – 8pm, but alcohol adverts are on bill boards, alcohol is sold everywhere without any restriction and with just one cedi or less one can buy alcoholic beverage making it one of the cheapest products in Ghana.
“Alcohol marketing is harmful for all exposed to it, especially our children and youth, it normalizes alcohol use, encourages people to take up alcohol and to consume more alcohol when they have already started.
“Is Wendy happy about the untold hardship and the number of the youth who have been destroyed by alcohol?” they asked.
It is important to note that 3.3 million people die from alcohol use in the world today. In Ghana 94,400 people die from non-communicable disease of which alcohol is one of the major risk factors.
The statement called on the FDA and the Ministry of Health to expedite action on the development of the alcohol regulation which has been at the draft stage for many years to regulate the advertisement, marketing, accessibility and affordability of alcoholic beverages. They say Ghanaians are dying needlessly due to negligence on the part of some agencies in the health sector.
“Meanwhile, there are lots of low or not cost interventions that can be put in place to protect current and future generations from products that have no health benefits,” it noted.