The Prevalence and Context of Alcohol Use among Youth Living in Uganda

There is extensive research highlighting the negative short term and long term impact of alcohol use.

Although there is a vast amount of research investigating alcohol use among youth in high-income countries; there is a lack of research on alcohol use among youth in low-income countries

Uganda has very high alcohol consumption rates.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence and context of alcohol use, problem drinking and alcohol-related harm among boys and girls in the slums of Kampala, Uganda.

The researchers examined data collected through the Kampala Youth Survey, a cross-sectional survey that examined risk behaviours and exposures, with a primary focus on alcohol use, violence, sexual risk behaviours and HIV.

Results from the study found:

  • Among all participants, the prevalence of any alcohol use in the past 12 months was 31%.
  • A higher percentage of girl drinkers reported having unprotected sex due to alcohol consumption, compared to boy drinkers.
  • For girls and boys who drank, nearly half met the criteria for problem drinkers.
  • The prevalence of alcohol use among youth in our population was nearly 2.5 times higher than the alcohol use prevalence among street youth in Ghana.

These results indicate there is a significant problem with youth alcohol consumption in Uganda.

In conclusion, the authors suggest:

"targeted interventions and alcohol prevention initiatives are urgently needed to prevent alcohol consumption among youth and to decrease the amount of alcohol-related disease and mortality burden."

Swahn, M. H., Culbreth, R., Salazar, L. F., Tumwesigye, N. M., Jernigan, D. H., Kasirye, R., & Obot, I. S. (2020). The Prevalence and Context of Alcohol Use, Problem Drinking and Alcohol-Related Harm among Youth Living in the Slums of Kampala, Uganda. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(7), 2451.
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