Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Mkhize explains the data behind the alcohol ban

CAPE TOWN- Health minister Zweli Mkhize said on Monday during an online media briefing that South African scientific studies showed there was a 60-70 percent reduction of trauma admissions to hospitals when there was a ban on the sale of alcohol.

Mkhize’s briefing follows President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on Sunday evening where he reintroduced the immediate ban of alcohol sales in the country.

“During level 4 and 5 of lockdown a study showed that there was a 60-70 percent reduction of trauma admissions to hospitals, this was when there was a ban on the sale of alcohol. Conversely when the alcohol restrictions were lifted in level 3, health facilities reported a 60 percent of increase in trauma admission and up to 200 percent of ICU trauma admissions,” said Mkhize.

To alleviate the pressure on hospitals, projections show that the alcohol ban after one week could stop approximately 3 400 alcohol-related trauma cases. After 3 weeks, the ban could result in a maximum reduction of 6 800 alcohol-related trauma cases.

While the ban could ease pressure on hospitals, it can also reduce intimate partner violence in many households across the country.

When the first ban of alcohol was lifted, studies showed that Gauteng saw an 80 percent increase in trauma cases and five hospitals in the Western Cape reported that 90 people were admitted in each hospital per day.

“We plead for understanding and patience as we try and navigate through a very difficult time in the country. This is one of the issues we think would be inexcusable which is to have beds blocked by something that’s preventable and that is the consumption of alcohol,” said Mkhize.

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