Family Medicine & Primary Health Care, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Pretoria, South Africa
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there were 3.3 million deaths globally due to alcohol use in 2012. Establishing patients’ knowledge of safe alcohol use and practices regarding alcohol consumption could reform intervention policies.
The aim of this study was to assess patients’ knowledge of safe alcohol use and practices regarding alcohol consumption among patients attending the Family Practice Clinic at Dr. George Mukhari Academic Hospital (DGMAH) in Pretoria.
The sample consisted of 300 patients (150 males; 150 females). Data relating to patients’ baseline characteristics, knowledge of safe alcohol use and practice were collected by means of a researcher administered questionnaire. The SAS, Release 9.3 was used for data analysis. The statistical level of significance was set at p < 0.05.
Majority of the respondents had lack of knowledge on safe quantities of alcohol use per day, for male and female individuals [268 (89.3%) vs 32 (10.7%); p < 0.0001] and [279 (93.0%) vs 21 (7.0%); p < 0.0001], respectively. Respondents mostly consumed alcohol on special occasions (152; 50.7%), and on weekends (100; 33.3%). Age groups ≥ 38 years consumed more alcohol per day (100; 33.3%). Majority of the respondents (179; 59.7%) were binge drinkers. Relatively less patients with higher levels of education were chronic harmful users of alcohol (p ≤ 0.001).
The finding that majority of the patients lacked knowledge on safe quantities of alcohol use for males and females, and the unsafe use of alcohol, including binge drinking, warrant introduction of safe alcohol use awareness campaigns at primary health care, particularly targeting the middle aged and the elderly.
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