1 November, 2023
'Alcohol consumption contributes to 3 million deaths each year globally as well as to the disabilities and poor health of millions of people. Overall, harmful use of alcohol is responsible for 5.1% of the global burden of disease.' World Health Organization
HIFA is bringing together all stakeholders with an interest in alcohol use disorder to explore how to accelerate progress towards a world where every person has access to reliable information on the prevention, diagnosis and management of alcohol use disorder. Our main focus is on the information and learning needs of health workers (all cadres) and we shall also be looking at the information needs of the general public, patients and policymakers.
For the purpose of this discussion our focus is on alcohol use disorder defined as 'a medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences' (US National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).
This discussion is the second in a series on substance use disorders (the first was on Tobacco, and the third will be on Opiates).
• How can professional education be improved to ensure health workers are adequately prepared to diagnose and manage alcohol use disorder?
• What can be done to raise awareness among the public, and especially young people about the harms of alcohol?
• How can policymakers be supported to deliver evidence-informed policy and practice?
The discussion will take place on the HIFA forums, a global health community of more than 20,000 professionals representing all parts of the global evidence ecosystem, interacting in four languages and working in official relations with WHO.
Here are the five guiding questions for the discussion (these questions are intended only as a guide – you are welcome to discuss other aspects of alcohol use):
1. Do people understand the health, socio-economic, and environmental harms of using alcohol? What matters to them? How can they be better informed?
2. Do health workers have adequate knowledge to prevent and treat alcohol use disorder among their patients? What matters to them? How can they be better informed?
3. What is the role of the alcohol industry? What can be done to address misinformation from the alcohol industry?
4. Do public health professionals and policymakers have adequate knowledge to address alcohol use disorder in their country? What are current national policies and what more can be done to fully implement those policies?
To join the discussion, if you are not already a HIFA member, please join us! www.hifa.org/joinhifa
We shall host parallel discussions on HIFA-French, HIFA-Portuguese and HIFA-Spanish, as well as our dedicated child health forum (CHIFA) in English. Please see our website for details: www.hifa.org
Acknowledgement: HIFA is grateful for sponsorship from the Ulrich and Ruth Frank Foundation for International Health known online asNextGenU.org. NextGenU.org offers free health science certificate courses, and a free/low-cost Master’s degree in Public Health to learners in every country and provides over 800,000 learning sessions each month.