Prevention Harmful Consumption of Alcohol and Drugs in Sao Tome and Principe Through Public Health Communication: The Scientific Protocol




Alcohol Drinking, Atlantic Islands, Drug Users, Health Communication, Illicit Drugs, Life Style, Students


Introduction: Sao Tome and Principe is an African low-and-middle-income country, where extreme poverty causes major health inequalities. No systematic research has been done on the consumption of alcohol and drugs in Sao Tome and Principe, and only overall statistics are available based on the importation of alcoholic drinks and their distribution among the population. There are also no studies on consumption of alcohol and illicit substances in children and youth and no preventive measures being undertaken. Besides that, manual databases present significant limitations, considering the lack of causes associated with mortality rates (0 - 5 years and > 5), and the difficulty to establish a cause/effect relation between diseases, deaths and life expectancy. No relevant data with burden of life was found in the reports of Centro Nacional de Endemias or the non-governmental, organization Instituto Marques de Valle Flor, a facilitator on healthcare clinical specialties selected on a voluntary basis by doctors from Portuguese hospitals. So, we proposed to provide a first overview of family and housing conditions, and above all, the consumption of alcohol and illegal drugs in young people. Thus, a project, the National Survey on Harmful Consumption of Alcohol and Drugs in Schools of Sao Tome and Principe, will be realized in order to better characterize the situation among children and young students and test public health communication strategies and preventive interventions aimed at this target-population. Interventions were designed taking into consideration local sociocultural realities of target audiences. We considered dialect language, single-parent families (matriarchal structure) and polygamy (mostly) in men and a country and governments led by men (patriarchal structure) and, in which the woman’s role, as Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports, remains overlooked. Subsequently, we will collect traditional alcohols samples from the two main islands for analysis (at Laboratório de Estudos Farmacêuticos and Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil - Portugal) and to determine heavy metals in the production process and impact on burden of life.
Material and Methods: In order to characterise the country’s situation in terms of alcohol and illicit substances consumption a literature review was carried out through a search in several international electronic databases, such as those of the World Health Organization, World Health Organization Africa, United Nation, The Lancet and Lancet Global Health, etc. Available data of the following institutions of Sao Tome and Príncipe was also analyzed: National Institute of Statistics, Ministry of Education, Culture and Training and Ministry of Health and Social Affairs. Several interviews with community and church leaders as well as with members of catholic missions were carried out to better understand the local situation. Following this, a nationwide cross-sectional survey of a sample of 2064 students will be carried out. This will include a questionnaire on socio-demographic characteristics, lifestyles, health behaviors/attitudes, alcohol and illicit substances consumption. Finally, based on the overall diagnosis obtained, some edutainment health communication preventive interventions will be tested in the primary schools of three districts (EDUCA_TURTLE) and on the radio journalists (EDUCA_PRESS). These were evaluated by primary school teachers and by radio journalists.


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Author Biography

Isabel De Santiago, Unidade de Saúde Pública. Agrupamento de Centros de Saúde Lisboa Norte. Lisboa.

Isabel DE SANTIAGO Biography She was born in Sao Tome and Principe and lives in Lisbon, Portugal. She has both nationalities. She is mother of Francisca (19) Constança (18) and Joaquim (15): the most important challenge in her life. Author of 3 different poetry (Jaca em Escamas and Fruta-Pão Mulher) and pictures book (Rostos de São Tomé e Príncipe) in 2 languages: portuguese and forro (dialect of Sao Tome and Principe). All The proceeds from the sale of books reverted in full to the "Casa dos Pequeninos" (House of the Little Ones) under Direction of CARITAS Diocesana de STP, leaded by the Bishop of Sao Tome and Príncipe.

She is Invited Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon (FML), Portugal, in the Integrated Master’s in Medicine, in the scientific field of Health Communication, and Student of the doctoral program by CAML as researcher in Health Communication and assistant invited by the Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon, Master of Medicine - has developed scientific activity between academia, IMP & SP-FMUL - ISAMB - RG1 - RL - Environment, Family, health & Society (2nd Year – ongoing with scientific articles/papers publication).

She has authored many Health Communication plans for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, in Portugal, recently: (on going) MINUTO AZUL – Healthy Food on the Radio, Edutainment sciences with and for children of primary Schools, promoted by TSF Radio and with High Sponsorship of President of Portuguese Republic, especially for Portuguese-Speaking African Countries in the last few years, such as: Angola – infectious diseases, Cape-Verde: non communicable diseases (NCD), Guinea-Bissau: Ebola Virus (EV), Mozambique: Children under nutrition (and other diagnosis) and Sao Tome and Príncipe: research and preventive interventions on alcohol and drugs consumption in the school population. For several years, she worked in communication management, as a press and communication officer, planning and outlining creative strategies for health communication programs. She has experience as a journalist in TV and radio and is also a commentator on disease prevention and health promotion issues, especially crises and pandemics, for two of Portugal’s four TV channels, RTP1 and RTP2), as well as for a number of national radio stations. Sometimes she collaborates with the main Portuguese newspapers as well as with local newspapers and radio stations. She has a degree in International Relations, a post-graduation in Leadership from INSEAD, and a Master’s Degree in Crisis Communication from the Complutense University of Madrid, and has also done specific training in complementary fields of communication such as Vocal Technique, Personal Marketing, Marketing and Communication and Innovation Intelligence. Isabel De Santiago is a persistent, resilient and creative person, endowed with a sense of humour and balanced initiative and dedication. Her intellectual curiosity, creativity and professional rigor, associated with her expertise and varied knowledge, have led her to her current position in the area of world health, specializing in Health Communication and Health Information (literacy) – HC&HI, and aiming to empower different (ages) of target audiences. Specialties: Crisis Communication and Health Communication. Method: proactive planning, with specific messages (private or public) is how to approach media interviews or communicate health prevention messages. The method should be intense, one-on-one or in small groups, videotapes; simulated media interview sessions and mock crisis situations. At FML, we prepare training handbooks, video and audio materials; interview prep software and training critique for different scientific fields of health.

October to December 1999thDecember 2002 Portuguese Institute on Drugs and Drugs Addiction, Lisbon, Public Institute - Secretary of State for the  Ministers Council Presidency)

Press and Communication Advisor. Author of the campaign on drugs primary prevention, in a straight articulation with mass media, started on the 17ª Journey of the Football National Championship. Made by un agreement with the Portuguese football national League. The national prevention campaign was adapted and followed by others sports modalities like Rugby, Basketball, handball, etc.).

Communication Advisor for all primary prevention projects on drugs and drugs addiction and Risk reduction policy and risk minimization (Hepatitis; AIDS/HIV, STD, etc).

Communication Advisor for the legal changing models in order to decriminalization of the Consumption and no penalty of the traffic by the addicts, implemented by the Drugs Addiction Disquisition Commission (Comissões de Dissuasão da Toxicodependência). The advisor process was conducted near all the Portuguese and international mass media, because it was the first country implementing this policy.

Press Advisor for the National Coordination of Projecto Vida.




How to Cite

De Santiago I, Nicolau LB, Marinho RT, Pereira-Miguel J. Prevention Harmful Consumption of Alcohol and Drugs in Sao Tome and Principe Through Public Health Communication: The Scientific Protocol. Acta Med Port [Internet]. 2020 Apr. 1 [cited 2024 Jun. 24];33(4):229-36. Available from: