By John Ekongo WINDHOEK The Rector of the Polytechnic of Namibia Dr Tjama Tjivikua, has called on students and other young people to change their behaviour in the face of a ravaging HIV/AIDS epidemic. "If we do not change our behaviour and attitudes in the face of such a threat, our society will be (doomed)," he said at the 12th edition of the annual Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN), HIV/Aids and Alcohol Awareness campaign which began this week at the institution to raise awareness among students on the dangers of alcohol to the society. "The campaign also aims to enlighten the students on the social effects of HIV/AIDS. Health Minister Dr Richard Kamwi, in a keynote address at the same event cautioned the students about the excessive use of alcohol, saying it led to unwanted activities including unprotected sex. "The linkages between alcohol abuse and the spread of HIV/AIDS are real, and addressing the challenges posed is essentially a demand for responsible and conscientious living. These two challenges are devastating in their own rights, and much more so when taken together," said Kamwi. The minister said that alcohol abuse in Namibia is a major problem, quoting figures from a study conducted by his ministry. "Fifty-two percent of adult Namibians drink alcohol and 8% suffer from alcohol related illnesses," revealed Kamwi. He said alcohol leads to many problems across the board. "Alcoholism leads to woes and tribulations, affects people across generations, educated or not, whether they are employed or not, whether they live in the city or in rural areas and right through economic and political classes." The Minister and the Rector took a swipe at the operation of many shebeens that open until the small hours of the morning. The two stressed that this contribute largely to the ever increase of alcohol abuse among Namibians. " Alcohol abuse, spurred by cheap and easy availability of liquor is directly correlated to crime, property damage, public disorder and assault." Kamwi enjoined the students to stay away from excessive alcohol consumption. "You cannot combine alcohol and your studies. It will never work," warned Kamwi. The campaign ends today.
2008-05-15 00:00:00 10 years ago