Moroto, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The health department in Moroto district in Karamoja sub region has called for assistance as it battles growing alcohol abuse in the district.
Many people interviewed in the district, have related the problem to the amount of free available alcohol especially with those involved in mining. Truck drivers coming to pick minerals from the region, come along with free alcohol given to workers who assist them.
“Consumption of alcohol is too much in Karamoja and it needs firm action to be taken to address it otherwise its going to finish people,” said Dr. Ben Watom, the Moroto regional referral hospital director.
According to data from Moroto regional referral hospital that URN saw, 166 people were hospitalized after developing mental disorders due to excess consumption of alcohol in 2019 and 2020.
Dr. Ben Watom told URN that the 166 registered, are in his view a drop in the ocean, as they are the few who come to seek mediccal attention. He insistst that many could be out there struggling without help in the community.
He said although the hospital has not registered any death, he suspects people could be dying from the villages as a result of alcohol and its affects when abused.
Figures of deaths yet to be compiled
Elijah Omiat an elder who lost his son due to alcohol consumption in Tapac sub county said about two people die in a week due to alcohol but the locals don’t report it to the authority.
Dr. Hanes Lokales, the Moroto district health director confirmed to URN that people have died of alcohol adding that his office was still compiling the data.
“Its true alcohol has killed many people especially behind Mt. Moroto in areas of Lopelipel, Tapac and Katikekile but we are carrying out data collection on that,” he said.
Jenifer Nakong, a village health team member for Kosiroi village in Tapac sub county said many people have died silently in Kosiroi due to high consumption of alcohol.
“I am defeated as a health worker. I have been trying to sensitise people not to consume alcohol but they confront me asking me to give them food to eat,” she said.
Nakong said many adults and teenagers are likely to die because they have turned to alcohol for breakfast, lunch and supper due to the current shortage of food.
Peter Lobot, the LC 3 chairperson Tapac sub county in Moroto district said many people have been rendered unproductive due to alcohol consumption.
Lobot said their effort to fight alcohol consumption in the sub county is being undermined by the arrogant drivers operating trucks that supply Tororo cement with raw marble stones.
He said the drivers take alcohol in boxes to distribute to the miners as a sign of appreciation for loading stones and appealed to government to intervene.
“They are very rude to us leaders in the sub county and when we try to stop them, they threaten to beat us the leaders,” he said.