Background: Alcohol related health and social problems are on the rise in sub-Saharan Africa. This survey reports the prevalence and associated factors for hazardous drinking in rural Sodo district, southern Ethiopia. The survey was part of a multi-center study, Programme for Improving Mental Health Care (PRIME), which is a consortium of research institutions and ministries of health of five low and middle income countries, namely Ethiopia, India, Nepal, South Africa and Uganda in partnership with UK institutions and World Health Organization (WHO).
Methods: A cross-sectional community survey was conducted involving 1500 adults, age 18 and above, recruited using multi-stage random sampling. Data on alcohol use was collected using the Fast Alcohol Screening Test (FAST). Standardised instruments were used to measure potential associated factors, including a validated adaptation of the Kessler 10 (psychological distress), the List of Threatening Experiences (number of adverse life events). Exploratory multivariable logistic regression was conducted to examine factors associated with hazardous alcohol use.
Results: The overall prevalence of hazardous alcohol use was found to be 21 %; 31 % in males and 10.4 % in females, P < 0.05. Factors independently associated with hazardous alcohol use were being male (adjusted OR = 4.0, 95 % CI = 2.44, 6.67), increasing age, having experienced one or more stressful life events (adjusted OR = 1.71, 95 % CI = 1.18, 2.48, and adjusted OR = 2.12, 95 % CI = 1.36, 3.32 for 1-2 and 3 or more adverse life events, respectively) and severe psychological distress (adjusted OR = 2.96, 95 % CI = 1.49, 5.89). High social support was found to be protective from hazardous alcohol use (adjusted OR = 0.41, 95 % CI = 0.23, 0.72).
Conclusion: High level of hazardous alcohol use was detected in this predominantly rural Ethiopian setting. The finding informed the need to integrate services for hazardous alcohol use such as brief intervention at different levels of primary care services in the district. Public health interventions to reduce hazardous alcohol use also need to be launched.