An investigation of different approaches to the prevention of alcohol abuse among black adolescents : a community based partnership approach.
Nkonzo-Mtembu, Lulama Lorraine.
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According to Amos (1989) the use of, and the attitudes towards alcohol amongst young people in Africa is an area about which little is known but which has potentially major health implications. Neither has much been done about primary prevention in this field. The case studies which included a participatory research was conducted among three groups of people in the Clermont Township near Durban in the Natal Region. The aim of the research was to describe alcohol abuse as a social problem among the black adolescents and to compare and contrast the implementation of alcohol abuse prevention strategies that were and are used by the different groups of people in their community. The case study approach documented the work of each community. All the three groups of people who participated in the research agreed that alcohol abuse was a problem in their community. They described factors in their township which were contributory to the alcohol problems in their community and described the various cycles of negative effects and consequences to the individual, family and to the community. They agreed that in the past alcohol was not a problem in the traditional African society because of cultural and economic factors. Most interesting was the serious effects all groups described alcohol abuse amongst both teachers and the pupils in the Black education system. Each group planned, implemented and evaluated a unique alcohol preventive strategy. While the youth group maintained a strong alcohol focus with an educational programme, both the adult groups moved into the more general issues of economic empowerment. All three groups also used the participation and capacity building. The willingness to get involved, and to address the problems of the groups were remarkable. The following were the research conclusions: * Material resources were relatively available in this community. * Health professionals were available in this community, but they did not follow the Comprehensive Primary Health Care approach and were not involved in community development. * Integrated drinking seemed to be in harmony with the values of these groups and could be used in the alcohol abuse prevention. An integrative, multi-faceted and comprehensive community based partnership approach was used to the multi-causal alcohol abuse prevention programmes and strategies. This strategy was successful in involving community partners and leading to the solving of the actual problems and the development of positive health behaviours. The research revealed that the development projects needed "seed money" to initiate and to maintain. Alcohol abuse prevention can be used as a vehicle to enter a community and to engage it in a health directed partnership.