World Health Organization  |  October 15, 2022

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This Snapshot describes and synthesizes the policy changes in alcohol policies, systems and practices adopted by seven African countries in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: Botswana, Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Measures implemented to address the acceptability of alcohol focused on restricting consumption, raising awareness or restricting advertising. Many governments enacted public health restrictions such as changing business hours, closing bars and restaurants and issuing stay-at-home orders that restricted the availability of alcohol. Very few countries implemented regulatory changes that address the affordability of alcohol. Six of the seven countries reported corporate social responsibility activities being undertaken by the alcohol industry and lobbying efforts against government measures. Few efforts to curb the consumption of alcohol have been extended beyond the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many countries saw an increase in the illicit trade of alcohol; relatively loose restrictions resulted in an expansion of online and home delivery. Civil society organizations stepped-up to support alcohol control.

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