The SAAHAS Followup Pilot Study aimed to collect information to plan a larger study on the outcome and impact of Alcohol Use Disorders (AUD).

AUDs are responsible for significant disability and mortality worldwide. Despite research evidence showing the growing prevalence of AUDs in India, its priority is low on the health policy agenda, with virtually no services for AUDs in primary care settings.

One reason for this is a lack of research looking specifically at the long term course of AUDs in India. Sangath, in collaboration with Alcohol Research Group and National Institute of Health, USA completed the SAAHAS study in 2005-06 to estimate the prevalence and pattern of alcohol use and alcohol use disorders in rural and urban communities in Goa. We found that prevalence of AUD in men was 14%; low social class and education were strongly associated with AUD. AUD were associated with depression, domestic violence and sexual risk behaviors.

Now Sangath plans to examine long-term health and social outcomes of AUD’s, through a follow up study with male participants of the original SAAHAS study. One of the challenges of such a community based longitudinal study is to estimate and reduce attrition (loss on follow up).

What We did
We undertook this pilot study to determine the attrition rates and reasons for attrition. We randomly chose 150 men with different levels of alcohol use from the original sample and attempted to follow them up-five years after the original study. We were able to review 83.3 per cent of these men. Thus, we found a relatively low attrition rate given that five years have passed since the original study.

The results of the pilot project are being utilised to develop a proposal for undertaking a follow-up of all the men who took part in the original SAAHAS study to describe the long-term course and outcomes of AUD in Goa.