Health and beer mix

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Entertainment - Melissa Mpofu Show­biz Ed­i­tor

A MEAT do­na­tion made by beer man­u­fac­tur­ers – Delta Bev­er­ages was un­de­ni­ably one of the hard­est the Min­is­ter of Health and Child Wel­fare, Dr David Parireny­atwa, has had to ac­cept.

Delta Bev­er­ages, through one of its lead­ing brands – Cas­tle Lager, do­nated 6 140kgs of meat to Mpilo Hos­pi­tal in Bu­l­awayo for con­sump­tion by pa­tients.

What made the do­na­tion dif­fi­cult to ac­cept was that it was from the coun­try’s lead­ing sup­plier of al­co­hol – a prod­uct which over time, can take a se­ri­ous toll on peo­ple’s health through con­di­tions such as heart dis­eases, liver cir­rho­sis, high blood pres­sure and di­a­betes among oth­ers.

Other than that, the do­na­tion had come from an es­ti­mated 15 000 peo­ple who had ex­ces­sively im­bibed and had a lot of meat at the Big­gest Braai Fes­ti­val in Harare last month.

Twelve thou­sand two hun­dred and eight kilo­grammes of meat (beef, pork and chicken) were con­sumed at the braai held for char­ity to help those ad­mit­ted in hos­pi­tal.

Also, Dr Parireny­atwa’s min­istry and the Traf­fic Safety Coun­cil of Zim­babwe have been rais­ing aware­ness on the dan­gers of ex­ces­sive al­co­hol con­sump­tion.

But yes­ter­day, the min­is­ter had to com­pro­mise for the sake of pa­tients and ac­cept the do­na­tion which ac­cord­ing to him, will save Mpilo about $6 000 per month. The 6 140kgs of meat trans­late to the hos­pi­tal’s four-month meat bud­get.

Ad­dress­ing guests at the meat handover cer­e­mony, it was clear the min­is­ter was hav­ing a dif­fi­cult time accepting the do­na­tion as he al­most missed the hos­pi­tal’s gate which had been over­whelmed with Cas­tle Lager ban­ners.

“When I came in through the gate (Mpilo), I was pleas­antly sur­prised that I’m at the right place, but I saw all the posters of Cas­tle Lager and I said is this the real hos­pi­tal,” said Dr Parireny­atwa.

The min­is­ter was how­ever, quick to urge peo­ple, es­pe­cially those who im­bibe the wise wa­ters, to have a bal­anced diet with a lot of veg­eta­bles, ex­er­cise and sleep well.

“When you’re eat­ing, you should have a bal­anced diet. When you have a meal ev­ery day, di­vide your plate into three. The first half should be veg­eta­bles and the other half must be di­vided into two – car­bo­hy­drates (sadza/rice/pota­toes) and pro­teins (meat/beans),” said Dr Parireny­atwa.

“If you’re drink­ing al­co­hol, it must be done in a very re­spon­si­ble man­ner. One unit/pint per day is gen­er­ous.

“Though by say­ing this, Delta’s busi­ness won’t grow, but the health of the peo­ple is very im­por­tant to us so that peo­ple don’t in­jure their liver, heart and have blood pres­sure go­ing up un­nec­es­sar­ily. So as we bring good­ies, we must be very care­ful.”

He took a swipe at peo­ple from Mata­bele­land say­ing they needed to stop eat­ing too much meat since they are known for eat­ing meat with sadza.

Some nurses who spoke to Chron­i­cle on con­di­tion of anonymity said they were sad­dened by the Cas­tle brand­ing at the hos­pi­tal as some of their pa­tients were in hos­pi­tal be­cause of ex­ces­sive drink­ing.

“In as much as we ap­pre­ci­ate the do­na­tion by Delta, this brand­ing of theirs does not make me happy as it seems like we’re pro­mot­ing the con­sump­tion of al­co­hol here.

“Most of our pa­tients, es­pe­cially dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son, im­bibe a lot and end up be­ing in­volved in ac­ci­dents then they’re brought here,” said the nurse as she col­lected free­bies from Delta be­fore leav­ing the cer­e­mony in a huff.

To their de­fence, Delta Bev­er­ages said they en­cour­age the re­spon­si­ble con­sump­tion of their prod­ucts at all times. Even their branded tents which proved un­pop­u­lar at the cer­e­mony had a clear mes­sage of the haz­ards of con­sum­ing al­co­hol ex­ces­sively.

“As Delta, we care about com­mu­ni­ties that we op­er­ate from and be­lieve in be­ing a force for good.

“We be­lieve in mod­er­ate and re­spon­si­ble al­co­hol con­sump­tion as we un­der­stand the harm that sub­stance abuse and abuse of al­co­hol can cause to our pop­u­la­tion,” said Delta Bev­er­ages gen­eral man­ager – Mun­yaradzi Nyan­doroh.

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