From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
Sierra Leone News : “Government striving for a Tobacco Free Sierra Leone” says Dr. Alie Wurie
By Emmanuel I. Kamara
May 31, 2017, 17:08

Director of Non-Communicable Diseases, Ministry of Health and Sanitation Dr. Alie Wurie has on Tuesday 30 May 2017, told newsmen at a press conference held in the conference room of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Youyi Building, Freetown, on the World No Tobacco Day that the government is striving for a tobacco free Sierra Leone.

 

In his presentation, Dr. Wurie highlighted how tobacco threatens the development of nations worldwide, and is calling on the government of Sierra Leone to enact strong tobacco control measures. He added that, the World Health Organization studies shows that tobacco kills more than 7 million people each year, which is one death every five seconds.

 

Dr. Wurie said, according to Sierra Leones latest census, there are approximately 640,000 tobacco users in the country, including smokers and people who chew or sniff tobacco, they and those around them, including children, face significant health risks. He noted that evidence shows that up to half of all tobacco users will die precipitately from tobacco related causes, including heart diseases, stroke, cancer, chronic lung disease and diabetes.

 

He went to quote World Health Organization Director General, Dr. Margret Chan who says “Tobacco threatens us all and tobacco exacerbates poverty, reduces economic productivity, and contributes to poor household food choices and indoor air”. Dr. Chan adds: “but by taking robust control measures, governments can safeguard their countries’ futures by protecting tobacco users and non-user from these deadly products, generating revenues to fund health and other social services and saving their environments from the ravages of tobacco”.

 

Dr. Wurie concluded that it is not only government who can help the scourge of tobacco.

 

People and communities can also contribute to create a tobacco – free Sierra Leone and commit never to take up tobacco use and or stop using tobacco products.

 

Mrs. Aminata Kobie, Staff at the Ministry of Health said, Sierra Leone is a party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco (FCTC), which aims to help countries tackle tobacco’s negative impact on development. She furthered that increasing tobacco taxes and prices promote tobacco cessation and restricts on smoking in public places which are proven an effective ways to protect public health. She also lamented on their successes that the Ministry have sent to cabinet a draft proposal to make some environment tobacco free areas and the 2030 project would help to control tobacco usage.



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