Let us talk About Alcohol-Mrs. Kagame

In a lengthy text published on the Imbuto Foundation website, on September 10, the First Lady of Rwanda Mrs. Jeannette Kagame has openly expressed her thoughts on alcohol by reminding all Rwandans to join the battle of fighting alcohol addiction especially in the youth.

This was emphasized by Mrs. Kagame in part of Tunyweless program ‘an anti-drug campaign’ which was officially launched by The Ministry of Health, Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC), Rwanda National Police (RNP) and other government stakeholders.

“From Curiosity to Enjoyment, From Enjoyment to Craving, From Craving to Dependency, From Dependency to Addiction…..Let’s Talk About Alcohol,” messaged Mrs. Kagame, adding,

I have wanted to speak to you all for a while, and perhaps share a few thoughts, on an issue that I find to be of deepening concern.

I wasn’t quite sure the right moment to speak had come. And yet, overdrinking has become too normalized, romanticised and glamourized to ignore any further.

Drinking less is only logical.

This is not exactly a letter to those that have their alcohol use under control – though even those in control, must remain vigilant, for they are nevertheless dealing with a dangerous substance.

But most importantly, most pressingly, if the drink has come to drown you, fight!

Remember that you are deserving and capable of a long-lasting solution; you deserve and have the capabilities, to save yourselves from the inevitable troubles of substance abuse….which will only multiply with time.

New beginnings are attainable, and you, as a Rwandan, are a great living testament to your own power to redefine your fate.

Splendidly shot TV advertisements show us beautiful, healthy and confident looking people having the time of their wonderful and desirable lives, because a glass of alcohol is in their hand.

Movies depict alcohol abuse as a common, fun hobby. The songs that serenade us in both joy and sorrow speak of the bottle as of a heavenly, healing and empowering entity…as if the advanced effects of its contents are comical at worst.

What a cruel farce.

The reality is much different, especially when excess occurs.

Unfortunately, it is true that conversations like these often strike a negative cord; they can come off as controlling, insensitive or judgmental. They shouldn’t be. Unhealthy choices are common because unfortunately, they can be tempting. But if there was ever a chance to protect you from the ache of regret…it should be seized.

Yes, overdrinking may be a global, rising problem, but why shouldn’t we choose differently?

Read the full message here, https://www.imbutofoundation.org/press-room/our-stories/article/from-curiosity-to-enjoyment-from-enjoyment-to-craving-from-craving-to

To uncover what people think on the message of Mrs. Kagame, ICK News has talked to some residents of Muhanga District.

“I think this message will have a big impact to Rwandans especially youths,” said Joel Habimana, a resident in Muhanga district.

He goes on to reveal how the message of Mrs. Kagame is so significant.

“When the First Lady of the Country shares the above-mentioned message, It immediately shows that everyone is concerned about the issue.”

Another resident named Cecile Fara Tegura, called upon every Rwandan to acknowledge the message given by Mrs. Kagame.

“The message is really inspiring and encouraging us to behave, so I wish every Rwandan could read the lettering,” she said.

The 2022 national survey conducted by Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) on the prevalence of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) risk factors in Rwanda released new findings showing that alcohol consumption in the country has increased from 41% in 2013 to 48% in 2022.  The survey further revealed that the frequency of alcohol consumption was higher in men (61.9%) than in women (34.3%).

Also, a recent study conducted in March 2023, by the Rwanda Public Health Bulletin, indicated that in 7 districts of the country, 28.5% of adolescents reported to have consumed alcohol while 4.4% have consumed Cannabis.