Examining characteristics of recorded and unrecorded alcohol consumers in Kenya

Examining characteristics of recorded and unrecorded alcohol consumers in Kenya
Publication type
Journal Article
Year of Publication
BMC Public Health
Date published

Background: Due to media reports of several deaths, consumption of unrecorded alcohol (i.e., alcohol brewed at home) has emerged as a public health threat in developing countries like Kenya. Empirical data on this issue, however, is scarce. This investigation compared demographic characteristics of Kenyans who drank recorded (regulated) and unrecorded alcohol. Methods: We examined all respondents who consumed alcohol in the past month (N = 718) on the 2015 nationally representative Kenya STEPwise survey. Descriptive statistics and bivariate logistic regression examined proportion of respondents consuming unrecorded alcohol, and social demographic factors associated with unrecorded alcohol consumption, respectively. Results: The sample was primarily male (86%), married (64%), middle class or higher (64%), with an average age of 37 years. Participants reported an average of 2.5 drinking events and 4.3 binge-drinking occasions per month. Overall, 37% of our sample consumed unrecorded alcohol. Compared to those with incomplete primary education or lower, individuals who completed primary education or above were less likely to report consuming unrecorded alcohol (OR = 0.22, 95% CI: 0.12-0.43). Compared to poorest and poor respondents, those identifying as middle class or above were less likely to consume unrecorded alcohol (OR = 0.47, 95% CI: 0.29-.78). Current smokers (OR = 2.19, 95% CI: 1.34-3.60) and those with higher binge drinking occasions in the past month (OR = 1.03, 95% CI: 1.004-1.07) were significantly more likely to consume unrecorded alcohol. Conclusion: Kenyan adults who consume unrecorded alcohol engage in more binge drinking occasions, smoke, and have lower levels of education and socioeconomic status. It is vital that health promotion interventions aimed at reducing unrecorded alcohol consumption be tailored and targeted to individuals with low socio-economic status in Kenya.