From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Health Ministry engages MPs on Tobacco Advocacy
By Mohamed Kanu
May 28, 2010, 17:04

Concerned with the increase in tobacco consumption by teenagers in the country, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation on Wednesday 26 May 2010 engaged Parliamentarians on an advocacy forum centered on the prevention and control of tobacco intake.

In her opening statement, chairperson of the advocacy programme Honorable Bintu Myers disclosed that his Excellency the President Signed the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2009 to be enacted by Parliament to reduce the consumption of tobacco in the Country.

She said the Ministry alone cannot succeed in such an initiative without the support of parliamentarians as focal persons for their various constituencies.

Pointing out the negative effects of tobacco, use a senior psychiatrics officer of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Mr. Modupeh Cole stated that medically tobacco is dangerous to our health. He said recent study conducted by the World Health Organization has revealed that 5 million people die annually worldwide from tobacco related diseases such as cancer, hypertension and stroke among others. "If nothing is done now by Parliament to minimize tobacco smoking in the country, smoking among women is likely to double," he expressed. According to him, smoking is one of the major causes of complications during pregnancy that leads to high mortality rate in the country. He therefore pleaded with parliamentarians to corporate with the Ministry.

WHO representative, Mrs. Aminata Kobbie said they would make sure that the Frame Work Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) signed by the President became legislation in Sierra Leone as according to her tobacco kills one out of every two users.

She advised the authorities to put measures in place to control tobacco smoking in public places. "Study has proved that 46.7% of girls are exposed to tobacco smoking in the Western Area while 49.0% of boys and 46.4% of girls are exposed to tobacco smoking."

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