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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Raid director: Tobacco claims 6 million lives annually

Speaking at a two-day training for journalists on tobacco control in The Gambia organised by his organisation in partnership with World Health Organisation and Ministry of Health, he said: “Tobacco claims more than 6 million lives annually and about 600,000 die as a result of secondhand smoke. If the current trend does not stop, tobacco will kill 8 million people by 2030. We need to act now to control tobacco use in our society. Today marks another important milestone in the history of The Gambia tobacco control. The Gambia is a signatory to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and as a state party has an obligation to fully implement WHO FCTC in your country. The government of The Gambia cannot do it alone without the support of stakeholders.  That is why the Ministry of Health created the multi-sectoral working group which includes more than 33 government ministries and institutions to work together as a team, so that the government can achieve the objective of FCTC. The media plays a very important role in disseminating accurate information to general public.

“Article 12 of Framework Convention on Tobacco Control talks about education, communication, training and public awareness which reads that each party shall promote and strengthen public awareness of tobacco control issues, using all the available communication tools as appropriate. Towards this end, each party shall adopt and implement effective legislative, executive, administrative or other measure to promote.” 

He said that at the end of training journalists will be able to understand the positive role they play to support the process of implementation of FCTC in The Gambia. “Raid, The Gambia will continue to work with all the partners in the area of tobacco control. I know that tobacco companies are very powerful and have resources to undermine the implementation of FCTC. We should work together as a team – be it the government or civil society organisations – to protect our future generation from dangers associated with tobacco use”.

Modou Njie, director of health promotion, and communication department at the health ministry said the Ministry of Health through his unit was working with the media to disseminate vital health information stressing that the government is committed to tobacco control citing the 1998 Anti-Tobacco Act as well as The Gambia’s ratification of WHO FCTC.

The lead trainer, Tih A Ntiabang, Africa regional coordinator framework convention alliance said at the end of the training journalists should be able to advocate for tobacco control in The Gambia.

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