Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 10 February 2011—Papua New Guinea will host a three day symposium under the public-private partnership effort on February 14-16 on the issue of alcohol abuse in Port Moresby, the National newspaper reported.
The event is an initiative of the government through the law and justice sector and supported by stakeholders with assistance for a bigger coverage on the issue as bulk of the country’s problems are alcohol-related, the report said.
Companies that have come on board to initiate the symposium are, South Pacific Brewery and ExxonMobil with K50,000 each; Mineral Resources Development Company, and British American Tobacco with K20,000 each; Bank of Papua New Guinea K15,000; and the government with K200,000.
Law and justice sector secretariat director Joe Kanekane in his welcome speech said the overall sponsors of the symposium along with others will add to give a total of K500,000.
'It is a significant symposium that we would also like to bring to the provinces and I am pleased to say that three doctors from Mt Hagen, Lae and Nonga general hospitals will be flown in to see the depth of alcohol abuse from the medical perspective.
'They will tell us how much it cost to hospitalise those patients who come in with alcohol-related issue and see the true picture of abuse,' he said.
Acting chief secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc highlighted that it was very challenging for the government to control abuse associated with alcohol at the various levels in the society.
'Between 1963 and 1964 Papua New Guineans could not drink alcohol and now we are less than 50 years old and still developing and coping to deal with alcohol,' he said.
He said the main objective of the event was to share views and opinions and be better equipped with information to create a society that is safe for all and pave the way for stakeholders to better understand their role in addressing this problem.
'We are hopeful to set out a clear set of rules and regulations to better manage alcohol-related problems.
'Recommendations will be done to clearly assign between levels of government to see whose responsibility it is at each level,” he said.
Zurenuoc explained that alcohol abuse was a major problem in the country and without managing it the problem would erode the society.
'Alcohol abuse when left unmanaged will erode our communities and we must put an end to this.'
Meanwhile, a visiting expert will be in PNG to share his country’s experience during the three-day alcohol abuse symposium
Brett Bivans, who is the vice-president of the International Centre for Alcohol Policies (ICAP), will be arriving on Sunday from Washington.
South Pacific Brewery (SPB) business development manager Reg Monagi pointed out during the launching of the symposium yesterday that an international flavour was essential and vital to alcohol-related issues.
'While we (SPB) are a major stakeholder in making, selling and getting profits from alcohol in PNG, we are also committed to our responsibility to manage alcohol abuse in the country,' he said.
He commended the government for the effort done to address alcohol abuse that had gone worse in communities and said they would be at the forefront supporting the great initiative to help in the reduction of alcohol abuse.
'PNG’s alcohol problem is young and we can help to manage it by sharing our views and ideas on how best to manage our problems,' he said.
He also highlighted that in other parts of the world such as China, alcohol abuse was much bigger as they had to deal with all sorts of motor vehicles from cars to bicycles and tricycles and at a much larger population.
Bivans is expected to share global actions undertaken by the industry to address World Health Organisation’s (WHO) global strategy on the reduction of harmful effects of alcohol consumption.
Bivans holds a masters degree in philosophy and law from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.
He handles industry issues such as corporate social responsibility, self- regulation, road safety, retail and responsible hospitality. He is also responsible for outreach in the Asia-Pacific and Africa regions. .....PNS (ENDS