Prevalence and factors associated with 'Sachet' alcohol use among secondary school students in Kampala District.
Masika, Hope Mavis
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Introduction: There is global concern about drinking trends among young people. The age of initiation is getting younger and younger in terms of drinking. In Uganda, alcoholic spirit producers often package their product in small sachets of alcohol which increases access and convenience to even the youth population. As in other developing countries, the prevalence and associated factors of sachet alcohol use are not sufficiently studied in Uganda. Objective: To determine the prevalence, associated factors and the effects of sachet alcohol consumption among secondary school students in Kampala. Methods: The study was a cross-sectional survey with 625 respondents selected by stratified multi stage sampling from three divisions of Kampala. Three schools were randomly selected, one school per division. Convenience sampling was used to select 52 students per class. 36 volunteers also participated in the six focus group discussions. Qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection were used. Quantitative data was analysed using STATA. Bivariate and multi-variate analysis were used to determine associations between the outcome and the independent variables. P-values and 95% CI were used to determine significance of the association. Qualitative data was transcribed and coded according to the themes. Results: The prevalence of sachet alcohol use among secondary school students in Kampala was 35.0%. Gender and easy access to sachet alcohol were significantly associated with sachet alcohol use. Male students were more likely to consume sachet alcohol (OR; 2.21, 95%CI; 1.31-3.75) while the students who found it difficult to obtain sachet alcohol at school were less likely to drink sachet alcohol (OR;0.55, 95%CI; 0.014-0.72). Age, class, person staying with student and age at first intake of alcohol were not significantly associated with sachet alcohol use among secondary school students. Other factors highlighted to facilitate sachet alcohol use among secondary school students included, family / parental and peer influence. The most common associated negative effects experienced by the students due to sachet alcohol use were hangover (42%), sexual temptation (34.2%), sickness (33.3%), poor performance in school (30.6%), absenteeism from school (30.1%), doing something regrettable (32%), getting hurt (26.5%), skipping of lessons (26%), damage of property (21.9%) and getting into a fight after drinking alcohol (21%). Conclusion: The findings from this study indicate that the prevalence of sachet alcohol use in secondary schools is high in part due to ease of access from their social networks calling for a need to regulate access to these drinks especially among school going children.