SOUTH AFRICA – The AB InBev Foundation, in partnership with The South African Breweries (SAB) and other stakeholders, have launched an evidence-based Screening and Brief Intervention (SBI).

Developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), SBI is a tool that aims to identify current or potential problems with substance use and motivates people at risk to change their behaviour.

Brief interventions are designed to be personalised and formulated in a supportive, non-judgmental manner.

The SBI programme also utilises WHO’s Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), which was developed as a simple international method of screening for excessive drinking and to assist in brief assessment in primary care settings.

Its launch is in response with the damaging health and socioeconomic impact of harmful alcohol use in many South African communities, and in line with AB InBev’s ongoing commitment to embed a greater sense of responsibility for consumption among patrons.

The planning and implementation of this intervention adopted a partnership model that included local health authorities, non-governmental organisations and other community stakeholders with the intention of raising awareness about alcohol use and provide lifestyle change advice for alcohol users.

The project proved its success in the Alexandra Township in Johannesburg between 2020 and 2021.

With the original aim of reaching 42 000 community members, the project exceeded expectations by positively impacting the lives of 54 191 community members during this period.

Director of Communities and Social Impact at SAB, Heidi Bartis says, “We have always been deeply committed to ensuring responsibility is a core function within our business.

“Although the problem of irresponsible alcohol consumption is real in many communities, it’s interventions like this that objectively create change for good.”

Bartis believes the programme’s success could largely be attributed to location and targeting. Programme interventions were implemented in four settings including two Primary Health Care Clinics, Community HIV Testing Services, and an OVCY Community-based Organisation (CBO) intervention initiative conducted by lay personnel and community outreach.

“The target population comprised residents of Alexandra, aged 18 years and older, with potential participants recruited through the identified location data bases, which perfectly lined up the impact we wanted to achieve,” says Bartis.

Bartis notes that none of this would be possible without the right partners in the mix. Considering responsibility within communities encompasses a wide range of public, private and social actors, the SBI programme was implemented in partnership local NGO HIVSA with independent evaluations performed by the University of the Witwatersrand.

The programme was also overseen and guided by a Steering Committee comprised of the Gauteng liquor board, Department of Health, Department of Education, and the metro police.

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