STUDY says Sabahans normally abstain from alcohol during the weekdays but consume a copious amount of it during weekends and festive seasons
Study says Sabahans normally abstain from alcohol during the weekdays but consume a copious amount of it during weekends and festive seasons
Sabah is the third highest alcohol consumer in Malaysia at 18.4 percent after Kuala Lumpur (20.3 percent) and Sarawak (19.7 percent), according to the National Health and Morbidity Survey carried out between August 2011 and July 2012.
What is more worrying, according to Dr. Helen Lasimbang who is an official of Mercy Malaysia, is that binge-drinking is becoming a dangerous trend among Sabahans.
Dr. Helen quoted a study by University Malaysia Sabah (UMS), which stated that Sabahans normally abstain from alcohol during the weekdays but consume a copious amount of it during weekends and festive seasons.
Dr. Helen said this during a seminar on alcohol and health in Kota Kinabalu yesterday.
"Binge drinking poses serious health risks to the the drinkers, including heart attacks, strokes and liver damage, and can lead to road accidents," she explained.
As Sabahans prepare for the upcoming Pesta Kaamatan, alcohol abuse may become even more prevalent as locally-brewed alcohol like montoku and tapai will be widely consumed in the 2-day celebrations on the 30th and 31st of May.
These locally brewed alcohols are even more dangerous than factory-produced liquor according to Dr. Helen, as their alcohol content cannot be properly regulated.
According to State Health Department Assistant Director Dr. Nirmal Kaur who spoke at the same event, the Department had also conducted a study between August 2011 and June 2012 in four locations in Sabah and found that drinkers come from all ages ranging from 20 to 60 years old.
The study also found that drinking was more common among men, with 60 percent of men in the four locations consuming alcohol, while women comprised 40 percent.
Following this, the Health Department has embarked on an early-intervention programme in villages to create better awareness among the communities on the dangers of alcohol addiction.
This year, the Department has identified four villages - Bundu Tuhan in Ranau, Tinangol in Kudat, Melalap in Tenom and Kipovo in Penampang - to implement this programme, where it will monitor the programme’s effectiveness.
"We will evaluate the programme at the end of the year and will extend it to other villages in Sabah if it is found to be effective in combating excessive drinking," said Dr. Nirmal. (Insight Sabah)