General News of Thursday, 30 August 2018
Alcoholic commercials may be on the rise but it will take personal discipline on the part of every individual to decide against being influenced and subsequently purchasing any such product for the sake of their health, Consultant gastroenterologist and Vice President of the Ghana Association for the Study of Liver and Digestive Diseases has said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 4th Annual General Scientific Meeting under the theme; “Paying heed to the scourge of gastrointestinal and liver diseases: all hands on deck”, Dr. Tachi highlighted the rather devastating effects of chronic alcohol intake as against refraining.
Though presented through advertisement as an appetite booster and an aphrodisiac among other things, he maintained that the side and long term effects on the body’s organs are reason enough to deter anyone from drinking any alcohol at all.
“Presently the media is awash with a lot of adverts on alcohol, it gives the impression that alcohol intake is a sign of power but excess alcohol intake has been implicated in all cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, from esophagus, stomach, colon, pancreas, liver, so it cannot really be a good thing or a sign of power”
“Recent data shows that no alcohol is actually better than a little alcohol which we thought was good so there’s no reason at all to drink alcohol if you want to remain healthy”.
“I’m not in a position to suggest a ban on alcohol. I’m sure that alcohol has a social role but then are we restricting the age for intake of alcohol, are we applying the guidelines?”.
Dr. Tachi urged all especially Ghanaians to save themselves from deadly intestinal and liver diseases by simply staying away from alcohol whilst they wait for the necessary regulatory bodies to monitor and crack down on the indiscriminate advertisement of alcoholic beverages on various media platforms.
“I’m sure that alcohol has a social role but then are we restricting the age for intake of alcohol, are we applying the guidelines? And if you are health conscious, then you will as an individual make a decision on your own whilst we wait for state agencies, government, FDA, FDA has all sort of regulations and recommendations about advertising alcoholic beverages on TV”.
“I’m not sure anybody is policing it so we get a lot of adverts, but I think that as an individual, you can make an individual decision and say ‘I’m conscious about my health so I won’t take alcohol, or I will take alcohol only in moderation”.
He was however also emphatic about the importance of regular screening to detect early signs of intestinal and liver cancers to prevent the disease from progressing.
“In Ghana, it’s been shown that the common cancers that affect the gastrointestinal tract are liver cancers, stomach cancers, pancreatic cancers etc. Screening involves identifying people at risk of developing these cancers even before they have symptoms. The other aspect is how to improve early detection that identify patients who have symptoms of cancer before the disease progresses”.
Alcohol is known as a major cause of intestinal and liver related diseases and concerns have been raised in previous times about the high rate of alcoholic beverage advertisements. There have been efforts by the Food and Drugs Authority and the National Media Commission to curb the situation but very little results have been seen.
The Ghana Association for the Study of Liver and Digestive Diseases in collaboration with the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases held the 4th Annual Scientific Meeting Thursday August 30, 2018, to among other things, highlight the importance of multidisciplinary approach to the care of patients as well as to educate the public on ways to prevent and cure intestinal diseases, Hepatitis B and Liver diseases.