Features and challenges of alcohol abuse treatment in Uganda
Although alcoholic beverages have existed for long in traditional societies in Africa, across the continent, recent studies that categorize the majority of drinkers to be among those with risky drinking patterns depict rampant alcohol abuse. This paper reviews various reports on alcohol misuse in the sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in general and highlights negative alcohol related consequences in Uganda. The article further describes approach, components and setting of alcohol abuse treatment. The authors highlight the role of AA in shaping treatment and notes dominancy of the Minnesota model which combines the 12 steps program with pharmacological and psychosocial approaches. The Hazelden based strategy emphasises abstinence from all mood altering drugs in the residential setting and professional set up although the mainstream health facilities do not provide more than detoxification. Nevertheless, the implementation of treatment in Uganda appears to be a ‘cut and paste’ of the American model without prior research which challenges application in the local context. Challenges of the Minnesota model not withstanding treatment providers are faced with inadequate skills and facilities rendering them unable to meet the ever increasing demand. Research into culturally adopted treatment intervention strategies is necessary to enhance the effectiveness and treatment of alcohol abuse in Uganda.
Keywords: Alcohol abuse, addiction treatment, Uganda, alcohol dependence, sub-Saharan Africa