Welcome to the ‘Alcohol Problems: A Health Promotion Approach’ module. Since alcohol abuse can have negative consequences for individuals, families and the wider society, it constitutes an important public health issue. Unfortunately it is not as straightforward to deal with on a policy and educational level as other tobacco, because alcohol can be used with no harmful effect if used responsibly. In developing countries it is still a neglected problem in terms of prevention and rehabilitation, with few resources allocated to law enforcement, awareness raising, and training of service providers and policy makers.
We have purposely introduced the history of the use of alcohol in Southern Africa at the beginning of the module, as the history has important socio- political, economic and behavioural influences on current patterns of alcohol use.
The module will help you to develop an understanding of the various consequences of alcohol abuse and of the research processes used to measure this. The rest of the module will provide you with approaches to preventing alcohol problems, ranging from policy and environmental changes to educational and rehabilitation programmes. Some of the readings were chosen to illustrate the main concepts of the module using the following themes: youth, women, and foetal alcohol syndrome.
We hope that you will be equipped to assess alcohol problems in the communities in which you work and live, and have some realistic ideas on initiatives involving people in taking control of alcohol sales and consumption. You will demonstrate this through the two assignments you are required to do to gain credits for the module.
We hope that you find the module interesting and that you will be an advocate for putting alcohol problems higher on the public health agenda locally and nationally.
We would greatly value your feedback on how you found the experience of completing the Module. You can let off steam and reflect on what you have gained from this experience, while letting us know how we could have made the study experience easier and more useful for you. For your convenience, please use the Module Evaluation Form at the end of the Module. We suggest you complete the Evaluation Form soon after you complete the module; when you send in your final assignment, you could also send in your evaluation.