Alcohol Use Disorders (132) Alcohol consumption in different countries (4) Alcohol consumption in Uganda

8 March, 2024

Two weeks ago on HIFA we learned that Uganda has the highest alcohol consumption in Africa and the 7th highest in the world

I asked: "Why does Uganda have such a high consumption?" It would be interesting to hear from HIFA members in Uganda. Meanwhile I found this report from Movendi International, a global NGO on alcohol issues.

'Uganda worryingly tops for being the African country with the highest alcohol intake, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) report. On average, each person in Uganda consumes 12.21 liters of alcohol per year. Men seem to be heavier users of alcohol compared to women. Movendi International had documented that alcohol is so widely accepted and easy to get in Uganda based on a past study, even though there are rules against it for minors. This leads to people thinking It is harmless to use alcohol not realizing the health problems it can cause. The report also sheds light on the global impact of heavy drinking, which causes millions of deaths and a ton of different diseases and injuries. While progress has been made in some places, Uganda still has work to do in meeting their goals for reducing alcohol-related risks and other health dangers.

'The World Health Statistics 2023 report shows staggering levels of alcohol use in Uganda. Per capita alcohol consumption is 12.21 liters of alcohol per year in Uganda...

'On average, men consume about 19.93 liters of pure alcohol annually, while women consume 4.88 liters...

'To address this catastrophic situation, WHO in collaboration with international partners, launched the SAFER initiative in 2018. SAFER is a World Health Organization initiative and technical package that can help governments reduce the harmful use of alcohol and related health, social and economic consequences...

'The easy access to alcohol challenge can be handled by policy makers through establishing an effective system for domestic taxation on alcohol that raises the final price of alcohol to reduce consumption, prevent initiation, and generate much-needed resources for the government.'

I read elsewhere that a quarter of advertising billboards near schools advertise alcoholic drinks. Nearly 4000 die annually from road traffic accidents due to alcohol. An alcohol expert is reported (controversially?) as saying that the alcohol industry should fund education about the risks of alcohol.

For more information about SAFER, see Eduardo's message a few days ago:

Would HIFA members in Uganda like to comment? I note that Tanzania also has very high levels of consumption. What is driving this and how can it be addressed?

Do policymakers have the knowledge and tools they need to address alcohol use disorders in their country?

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of HIFA (Healthcare Information For All), a global health community that brings all stakeholders together around the shared goal of universal access to reliable healthcare information. HIFA has 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting in four languages and representing all parts of the global evidence ecosystem. HIFA is administered by Global Healthcare Information Network, a UK-based nonprofit in official relations with the World Health Organization. Email: