Addiction affects all of us – DOSA

A man wearing a placard againt addiction (Photo by Francis Emukule)

BY FRANCIS EMUKULE

Addiction  is not only a Uganda Christian University (UCU) issue but a nationwide concern,” said the Director of Student Affairs, Mrs Olive Ayo Birabi, while officiating at the Annual Recovery Walk on September 23 at the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) gardens in Kamwokya, Kampala.

“Those in high school shouldn’t indulge in consumption of any illicit content, and as UCU we are committed to work with everybody to reduce the impact of addiction in the country,” she said.

Mrs Birabi  called upon everyone to contribute to the fight against addiction, emphasizing UCU was committed to help in fighting against the evil in society.

“Alcoholism, for example is a major addiction, and the high rates of alcohol abuse have led to loss of lives leaving behind many helpless orphans and grieved families in the country.

“Recently, a drunken taxi driver ended the life of a mother who had just dropped off her seven-year-old child at Buganda Road School! If we do not come together in the fight against addiction, we are all going to be affected in one way or another,” she said.

Many experts who attended the second Annual Recovery Walk, organized by the Uganda Health Commission Alliance (UHCA) in conjunction with UCU also expressed the need for everyone to join hands in the fighting drug  addiction.

Dr Hafsa Lukwata, a senior medical officer for mental health in the Ministry of Health, said that technological devices like phones and game consoles have become a serious addiction  problem, especially among young people

“Technological addiction is much more dangerous than tobacco and alcohol as it impairs a person’s creativity,” she said.

Dr Sabrina Kitonsa,  a senior paediatrician at the Makerere University College of Sciences, said:

“The health implications of using cellphones are highly eminent and these include backache, blurred vision and sleep disorders.

“The small size of the phone screens also puts a lot of strain on the eyes and eventually leads to visual deterioration.

“Therefore, parents should control the rate at which they allow their kids to use these gadgets.”   

Expert findings

In 2013, according to the Global Adult Tobacco Uganda, 7.9 percent of Ugandans, equivalent to 1.3 million people aged 15 years and older, use tobacco products.

The World Health Organisation data indicates that 26 percent of the deaths in Uganda are respiratory related, and 14 percent of these are due to tobacco use.

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