Windhoek – There is a general trend of women drinking themselves into intoxication, the Coordinator of the Self Regulatory Alcohol Industry Forum (SAIF) of Namibia, Horst Heinstabt, has told New Era.
He said this is also a global and southern African trend in which both men and women drink themselves into intoxication, whereas, previously it was just men who were hooked on booze drinking as if there were no tomorrow.
This confirms a recent study by researchers from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre of the University of New Wales, Australia that women are now boozing as much as men.
“And Namibia is not lagging behind in this,” added Heinstabt. The reasons for women consuming so much alcohol now, according to Heinstabt, is because they were previously disadvantaged by men.
“I don’t want to sound sexist or anything (but) women are more independent now,” he said on Friday. In Namibia these heavy drinkers, he highlighted, are in the 18-24 age category.
“That’s where the problem is the biggest,” said Heinstabt, explaining that part of the reason is that people in this age group are now adults who are not so much under the control of their parents or guardians.
“The question is how can we get these young people to change that behaviour?” said Heinstabt.
Meanwhile, data from the 2013 Namibia Demographic and Health survey report, which is the most current survey of this type, indicates that 45 percent of women and 38 percent of men consumed 1-2 (alcoholic) drinks per day, 24 percent of women and 28 percent of men consumed 3-4 drinks per day, and 22 percent of women and 27 percent of men consumed 5 or more drinks per day.
The survey also shows that women aged 20-24 and 40-44, urban women, women who live in the Kunene Region, those with a primary education and breastfeeding women are more likely to consume five or more drinks per day.
Alcohol consumption is also very high (five or more drinks per day) among men aged 25-29, 35-39, and 40- 44 (about one in three men), urban men, men in the Hardap Region and among men with no education, the report indicates.
The percentage of men who have ever consumed alcoholic drinks is highest among those aged 25-29 (66 percent), those with more than a secondary education (68 percent), and among men in the highest wealth quintile (60 percent).
New Era also spoke to clinical psychologists Dr Joab Mudzanapabwe and Dr Shaun Whittaker, who said that generally most alcoholics in Namibia are men. “In my practice I attend to more men than women with alcohol problems,’ said Mudzanapabwe.
He said this could be because “men may not be strong enough” to deal with the pressures of life or perhaps women are also faced with the same problem but are suffering without seeking help.
“Culturally women may not be seen drinking,” added Mudzanapabwe. “Perhaps this is changing but by and large most alcoholics are men and this is because of the unhealthy male gender role, where men are discouraged from expressing their emotions,” said Whittaker.
Heinstabt warned alcohol intoxication result in reckless behaviour such as engaging in regrettable sexual activities, and car accidents as a result of drunken driving.