The National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has intensified campaign against the misconception that drinking the local gin (Akpeteshie) among other unregistered concoctions are protection or cure for COVID-19.
The Commission said alcohol consumption did not protect or cure COVID-19 but rather exacerbated health vulnerability, risk-taking behaviours, mental health issues and violence among users.
Mr Michael Sagoe, the Senior Civic Educator with the Assin Fosu Office of the Commission, said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the side-lines of a public sensitisation programme in the Assin Central Municipality.
He said unbridled misinformation had generated dangerous myths that consuming the local gin could kill the COVID-19.
He reiterated the World Health Organisation’s view that consuming alcohol was associated with a range of diseases and mental health disorders, which could make one more vulnerable to COVID-19.
“In particular, alcohol compromises the body’s immune system and increases the risk of adverse health outcomes, therefore, people should minimise their alcohol consumption at any time, and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Sagoe said.
“Alcohol is a psychoactive substance that is associated with mental disorders; people at risk or who have an alcohol-use disorder are particularly vulnerable, especially when in self-isolation.”
He commended the media for its significant role in the fight against the coronavirus saying; “reporting and publishing of information on preventive etiquette is contributing positively in this fight.”
Mr Sagoe encouraged all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to enforce measures that would limit alcohol consumption among other public safety protocols.
“Existing rules and regulations to protect health and reduce harm caused by alcohol such as restricting access should be upheld and even reinforced during the COVID-19 pandemic and emergency situations; while any relaxation of regulations or their enforcement should be avoided”.
“That must be complemented by a multi-faceted communicating tool with the public about the risks of alcohol consumption, and consequences thereof.”
Mr Sagoe said assemblies must tighten restrictions on access to alcohol, saying consumption could increase the risk of catching the coronavirus and worsen chances of recovery once contracted.
He reminded the public to adhere to personal hygiene while the Government and the medical practitioners also played their parts to help stop the spread of COVID-19 to facilitate the country’s return to normalcy.