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Blue Cross Norway

Blue Cross Norway Expands its Training on Alcohol Policy Formulation to Various Countries in Africa!

Experience clearly shows that evidence-based alcohol policies with a population-wide reach are highly effective in preventing the harmful use of alcohol. Therefore, starting in 2009 Blue Cross Norway, in cooperation with the International Blue Cross and the Norwegian development organisation FORUT, began to provide training for motivated NGO leaders, politicians, government staff and media in select developing countries. The training equips participants to advocate and mobilize for more comprehensive alcohol policy (including control mechanisms such as availability, price, age restrictions and drink-driving interventions) within their country’s socioeconomic situation.

Through this programme, Blue Cross Norway significantly contributes to ensuring that country policy debate and policy formulation takes into account the latest information and evidence base about the social and health effects of alcohol when considering regulatory development. This is particularly important in developing and newly industrialising countries where the alcohol industry is expanding its reach and sales, while the development of alcohol policies is still in its early stages.

The Programme

The main objective of the programme is contribute to the development and implementation of effective alcohol policies by training NGO leaders, politicians, civil servants and media representatives from developing countries to advocate and lobby effectively for a effective alcohol policy as part of the wider health and development landscape. A resource group of twenty international experts has been actively involved in the realisation of the programme. A training manual has been developed in both English and French, and can be utilised by anybody to run trainings or simply to use it as a reference tool.

To date the programme has involved the following important interventions:

• 2009: a pilot training was successfully held in Malawi.
• 2010: the programme was expanded to Botswana, Namibia, and Chad.
• 2010: ‘Training of Trainers’* with participants from Uganda, Malawi, Namibia, Lesotho, South Africa, Chad, Botswana, and Norway
• 2011: additional trainings took place in Lesotho and Madagascar.
• 2012: The training programme, together with FORUT, the WHO, South Africa Medical Research Council and others hosted the first ever Southern African Alcohol Policy Forum in Johannesburg, which included participants from the whole region.
• 2013: Alcohol Policy Alliance Lesotho (APAL) was formalised and underwent alcohol policy advocacy training.

According to alcohol policy expert Prof. Isidore Obot, tenured professor and chairperson of the Department of Behavioural Health Sciences at the School of Public Health and Policy at the Morgan State University in Baltimore and adjunct professor of psychology at the University of Uyo (Nigeria),  “This programme is one of very few that have succeeded in linking the existing research on prevention of alcohol-related harm to the reality on the ground by initiating and supporting concrete policy measures.” (quote from his address to the international Kettil Bruun Society Conference on Alcohol Epidemiology and Evidence-based Policy: Translating Research into Effective Prevention, Treatment and Policy, held in November 2010 in Kampala).

The programme has contributed to the following concrete changes:

• The national alcohol policy of Lesotho was positively revised in a joint effort between Blue Cross, civil society and the Ministry of Health in 2012.
• A comprehensive national alcohol policy, developed by an inter-ministerial committee, Blue Cross and WHO, was handed over to the Ministry of Justice in Madagascar in 2013.
• In Chad a comprehensive national alcohol policy is being developed as a joint effort between the Ministry of Health, WHO and Blue Cross Chad.
• The Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance, a regional network of civil society organizations concerned with alcohol policy was established in 2012.
• A strong National Alcohol Policy Alliance composed of a network of civil society entities was established in Lesotho in 2013.

Donations Welcome!

Blue Cross Norway wishes to expand its training programme to other countries. Your donation will help Blue Cross Norway achieve this important aim!

About Blue Cross Norway

The Blue Cross Norway consists of 50 local institutions offering treatment, education, housing services, job training, counseling and social networks. BC Norway also engages in different forms of prevention work, with its own youth department.

To learn more about Blue Cross Norway, visit their website.

To view the Alcohol Policy Training Manual click here for English or French.