The new National Alcohol Policy for Malawi has been in the making since 2008, a process originally initiated by a group of NGOs. On the 18th of August almost ten years later the Minister of Health, Atupele Muluzi, could launch the final document at a colourful ceremony in Dedza District.
“With the National Alcohol Policy now in place, communities will be supported and empowered to use their local knowledge and expertise in adopting effective approaches to prevent and reduce the harmful use of alcohol,” said Muluzi in his speech as Guest of Honour at the launch ceremony.
A large crowd was gathered at the Kantchito Primary School Ground, in the area of Traditional Authority Kamenyagwaza in Dedza District, to witness the policy launch and to enjoy the cultural performances that made the launch a very lively and colourful happening.
A long menu of effective interventions
The new policy document recommends a broad selection of interventions that shall contribute to the reduction in alcohol-related ham and other societal problems linked to such use; hiv/aids, gender-based violence, family problems, poverty etc. This includes regulation of availability of alcohol, restrictions on advertising, measures against drink-driving, taxation, education etc. The Malawi policy takes the WHO Global Alcohol Strategy from 2010 as its starting point and builds on the best international research, combined with profund knowledge about local realities in Malawi.
The representative from the Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance (SAAPA), Phillip Chimponda, applauded the work and the commitment of both the Malawian government and civil society. He commended all partners in the process for the innovative and inclusive methods that were used and made reference to the fact the WHO Afro and FORUT had documented the Malawi process and as best practice in alcohol policy development.