Statement of Dr Kidong Park on the occasion of the technical workshop to provide comment for the draft alcohol control law

Dr Kidong Park
13 April 2018

@WHO Viet Nam\Nguyen Phuong Nam

Good morning colleagues,

The World Health Organization estimated that Vietnamese adult older than 15 years-old consumed 8.6 litres of pure alcohol per person in a year. If you convert this amount to the number of bottles of beer, every Vietnamese adult drank about 483 bottles of beer per year. This figure is quite high comparing to other countries in the Region – China 7.8 litres, Lao PDR 7.3 litres, Thailand 7.2 litres Philippine 5.6 litres, Cambodia 5.3 litres.

Vietnamese adult drinks too much.

The National survey on the risk factors of non-communicable diseases (STEPS) Viet Nam 2015 revealed that about half (47.9%) of male adult current drinkers is driving after drinking. This is dangerous behavior.

Same survey reported that 44.2% of Vietnamese male drinkers consumed at harmful level (6 or more Bia Hoi glasses per occasion). Alcohol use in youth is high with nearly 48% of students between the age of 14-17 consume alcohol.

Alarming news is alcohol consumption in Viet Nam is increasing rapidly. Harmful use of alcohol claims the life of Vietnamese people through either road traffic mortality or premature NCD mortality. Road traffic mortality rate per 100 000 population in Viet Nam in 2013 was 24.5 which is quite higher than the regional average of 17.3. Premature NCD mortality – probability of dying from major NCDs between the age 30 and 69 in Viet Nam in 2015 was 17.3% which is higher than the regional average of 17.1%.

Colleagues and friends

We should take action to tackle this issue – harmful use of alcohol.
I believe we have a great opportunity now to work for the prevention of alcohol related harms in Viet Nam. At the 6th plenary session of the 12th Party Central Committee, Resolution No. 20 – on Protection, care and improvement of people's health in the new situation was passed on 25th October 2017. Among other important tasks, Resolution 20 calls for “concentration on directing prevention, combat and harms minimization. Implementing measures to reduce consumption of alcohol, beer, cigarettes.”

Today, we gather together to discuss the draft bill on PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF HAZARD OF ALCOHOL ABUSE. I hope we will reach consensus on the bill and it could be submitted to the National Assembly for the first review in October 2018 and adoption within 2019. I’d like to express my appreciation for Ministry of Health and other Ministries for their leadership and support in development of this important policy instrument helping to prevent and combat negative consequences of alcohol use.

Dear colleagues
To effectively prevent and control of alcohol related harms, I’d like to touch upon the following 4 important strategies which have been implemented successfully in many countries:

  • Reducing affordability of beer and alcohol;
  • Strict control of advertising and promotion;
  • Restricting availability of beer and alcohol; and
  • Passing and strictly enforce drunk driving policies.

WHO counts on you as leaders to take forward this agenda in Viet Nam for the health of the people. We, the secretariat of you, are committed to assist you.

I look forward to fruitful discussion and comments for the draft law.

Thank you.