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Plastic sachets with liquor a public health problem in Tanzania
Tanzania has experienced the same increasing problem with hard liquor sold in plastic sachets as a number of other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Tanzanian situation was presented by Dr Gerry Mshana in a STRIVE Learning Lab recently. Dr. Mshana focused on the effect of macro-economic factors such as pricing and packaging on alcohol drinking norms among young people.
Gerry Mshana is a medical anthropologist at the National Institute for Medical Research in Mwanza, Tanzania. Since 1999 he has been involved in developing and evaluating interventions to prevent HIV and sexually transmitted infections among young people.
You can see and hear Dr. Mshana's presentation at the STRIVE webinar on the 19th of February here. His PowerPoint slides can also be downloaded.
In his presentation at the STRIVE Learning Lab Dr. Mshana started with an overview of the alcohol taxation regime in Tanzania and how tax levels and state revenues from alcohol taxation has developed over the last decade. He then discussed the new problem of strong liquor being sold in plastic sachets, also to children and youth. This is a development many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have experienced the last years. Drinking of this liquor by adolescents has resulted in public outcry in several countries, and both Zambia and Malawi have taken steps to ban the sachets. The ban in Malawi is not yet enforced.
Dr. Mshana reported about the debate over alcohol sachets in Tanzania and how the producers have been very active with lobbying of politicians and public campaigns with a view to prevent any interventions from the government.