08 August 2012

Binge drinking in Africa a crisis

After years of turning a blind eye to alcohol abuse, politicians from South Africa to Kenya and Zambia are under pressure to tackle a problem that is adding to Africa's burden.

On a bitterly cold Saturday afternoon in Worcester, a forlorn rural community near South Africa's southern tip, the queue at the liquor store is the longest in town.

"It's true that most people in Africa don't drink for cultural, religious and economic reasons but those who drink, drink a lot," said Dr Vladimir Poznyak of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva. If governments finally crack down effectively, companies that produce and sell alcohol may find Africa no longer allows the spectacular sales growth they have achieved there in recent years.


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