Govt develops strategy to tackle tobacco consumption
The government has developed a five-year National Tobacco Control Strategy (NTCS), to tackle the increasing consumption rate of tobacco in the country.
The strategy, which seeks to ensure the total eradication and subsequent prevention of the product use, is in alignment with the national tobacco control policy directive as enshrined in the Public Health Act (851).
The plan was put together by the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), the World Health Organisation, the United Nations Development Programme, as well as advocate policymakers on tobacco control, to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products across the country.
The Acting Director, Technical Coordination Directorate of the MoH, Dr Baffour Awuah, who launched the strategy yesterday in Accra, said, there were increasing rates of cardiovascular disease due to the growing number of tobacco smokers in the country.
He said the rate of blood pressure and other health diseases recorded in Ghana’s health facilities, especially among the youth, were as a result of smoking, particularly the rampant smoking of “shisha”, which had now become a lifestyle.
“The strategy we are launching today is the climax of extensive collaboration, research, and commitment by various stakeholders, experts, and civil society. Its purpose is to guide us in combating the devastating effects of tobacco use, both in terms of health and the economy.
“It aims to ensure effective coordination among agencies involved in tobacco control, setting clear goals, and adopting strategic timelines,” Dr Awuah said.
He encouraged stakeholders to actively engage in discussions, exchange ideas, and contribute valuable insights towards the effective implementation of this strategy.
Dr Awuah said their collaboration and dedication were pivotal in transforming the document into tangible action that would positively impact the health and well-being of citizens.
The Director in charge of Tobacco and Substance Abuse of the FDA, Dr Olivia Boateng, said illicit trade in tobacco products, made the product more accessible at cheaper price, and also undermined the progress made to fight the smoking of tobacco.
She said, although the country had made progress through tobacco control policies, the illicit trade amplified the tobacco epidemic, and led to adverse health consequences.
Dr Boateng said, as part of the implementation of the NCTS, stakeholders would be trained on the protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products in the country.
She mentioned the Economic and Organised Crime Organisation, the Ghana Immigration Service, the Ghana Police Service, personnel from the FDA, Ghana Revenue Authority, among others, as those undergoing the training to help combat, and reduce the influx of tobacco in the country.
Story by Fada Amakye from Daily Sun.