Nile Breweries is tightening its supervision of alcohol distribution this festive season, with a bold campaign that urges bar owners and retailers not to sell alcohol to pregnant women and other restricted groups.
In a communication to agents countrywide on Tuesday, Nile Breweries Corporate Affairs Director Onapito Ekomoloit said: “We believe our products add enjoyment to the overwhelming majority of consumers, but it should be consumed responsibly. Reducing alcohol abuse is the number one priority among our sustainable development priorities.”
Onapito said expectant mothers had to be protected from alcohol abuse.
“Currently, there is no consensus on how much alcohol is safe for a pregnant woman to consume before causing risk to a foetus,” he said.
Citing TalkingAlcohol.com, a website run by SABMiller, Onapito said pregnant women should either not drink alcohol, or seek medical advice before they do.
“When a woman drinks alcohol during pregnancy, it is carried through her bloodstream, through the placenta and into the foetal blood,” he added.
He said alcohol could affect the development of the foetus and cause birth defects such as Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). The call comes at a time when Aruu MP Odonga Otto is pushing legislation to restrict drinking to between 5pm to 3am.
Daniel Katumba of Kireka Pool Nest bar says he used to sell alcohol to everyone who had cash until he participated in the Retail Alcohol Programme.
“We no longer serve beer to pregnant women, the underage and the intoxicated,” he says.
Of recent, police has also been actively working with brewers to promote responsible consumption of alcohol. Senior Traffic Police Commissioner Steven Kasiima is optimistic that this programme can create a positive impact. The Nile Breweries statement quoted Kasiima as expressing satisfaction with efforts by brewers to sell and market their products responsibly.
“I know, and have seen, the damage that alcohol can cause if misused. But I also believe that when it is enjoyed responsibly, alcohol brings enjoyment to many and makes a positive contribution to our society,” Kasiima said.