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Ministry of health proposes a raise in the minimum age to take alcohol in Uganda

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By Joyce Namugambe

Ministry of Health has proposed that the age that is allowed to take alcohol in Uganda be raised from 18 to 21 years.

According to the Ministry, the brain of a person at 18 years is still developing therefore should not be allowed to take a risky decision such as taking alcohol.

The Assistant Commissioner Health Services at Ministry of Health Hafsa Lukwata revealed that Uganda has already set the precedent under the Tobacco Control Act, where the legal age when someone is allowed to smoke cigarettes is 21 years.

According to Lukwata, movers of The Alcoholic Drinks Control Bill have put the age of 18 at which people are supposed to start drinking alcohol, “we are saying this age isn’t okay, it should be 21 years and there is already science around this age and research was actually done by many scientists, and they found that if someone hasn’t taken alcohol or any abusive substance by the age of 21, there are so little chances of this person starting to take this substance,” she said.

Lukwata further stated that sports betting is at 25 years because it’s believed to change the functioning of the brain thereby asking parents out there to look at their children and what they are capable of doing, and look at the kind of decisions they make.

She added that a child of 21years is a little more developed mentally, they are more organised and they are usually at campus, but an 18 year old these days, is in S.4, you can’t let a S.4 child to take a decision about their life, something that is going to affect their future,” Lukwata emphasised.

According to the World Health Organization, Per capita alcohol consumption in Uganda is 12.21 liters of alcohol per year, making the African country with the highest alcohol consumption.

Uganda’s statistics are particularly worrying because alcohol causes a high burden of disease and has significant social and economic consequences in the country.

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