“With a sober mind!” alcohol awareness campaign launched in the Republic of Moldova
Launched on 12 February 2014 and urging the public to live “With a sober mind!”, the nationwide campaign aims to increase understanding of the problems caused by alcohol use. Communications will focus particularly on informing pregnant women that any amount of alcohol is dangerous for fetuses and reminding drivers that never to combine alcohol and driving.
The Minister of Health, Dr Andrei Usatîi, launched the campaign during a press conference in Chisinau, saying: “The harmful use of alcohol is one of the most important risk factors. Concrete action is needed to reduce its health and social effects, for example, by reducing availability of alcohol, increasing age limits, identifying people at high risk, providing counselling programmes, banning alcohol advertising and, last but not least, implementing alcohol communication campaigns.”
Time for change
Alcohol consumption and alcohol-related deaths in the Republic of Moldova are among the highest in the WHO European Region. The Government therefore made reducing alcohol use a priority objective, and adopted the national programme on alcohol control for 2012–2020.
Significant progress has already been made in:
- raising the minimum age for purchasing alcohol;
- reducing sales hours;
- increasing the minimum price of strong alcohol products;
- increasing excise taxes for some alcoholic beverages; and
- reducing the legal level of blood alcohol content for drivers to 0.3 g/L.
Nevertheless, the population’s awareness of the harmful effects of alcohol is still relatively low. According to the results of a baseline survey of knowledge, attitudes and practices conducted in May–June 2012, 69% of alcohol consumers are not worried or are somewhat worried that alcohol will damage their health in the future, and 81% do not intend to reduce their alcohol consumption.
Involving all sectors of society
The launch event for the campaign included a flash mob organized by the Association of Medical Students and Residents in the biggest commercial centre of Chisinau municipality. Representatives of the Association also distributed T-shirts, caps with the alcohol campaign logo (an image of a bottle containing a flower), brochures and actual bottles with flowers to visitors.
Over the course of the campaign, tailored messages will be spread through television and radio broadcasts, outdoor advertisements, brochures, flyers and posters, flash mobs and community events. Various sectors will implement activities, including the police, medical students and residents, public health and primary health care centres and nongovernmental organizations.
Collaboration with WHO
During a press conference on the campaign, WHO staff called for the population as a whole –as well as the campaign’s target groups – to reduce or avoid alcohol use. The national programme on alcohol control pointed the way forward. The situation in the Republic of Moldova could change, as it has in many other big wine-producing countries such as France, Italy and Spain.
The Ministry of Health is implementing the “With a sober mind!” campaign in collaboration with WHO. These activities are part of a project for technical assistance to the health sector that is funded by the European Union, coordinated by WHO and related to budget support to the Republic of Moldova.