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Feb 10, 2010, 1:55 PM
A two-day workshop on development campaign for resource mobilization on tobacco control in The Gambia ended yesterday at the Laico Hotel and Resort, formally Atlantic Hotel,
Delivering his speech on behalf of the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Modou Njie, a senior personnel from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, said the workshop was manifested by several important actions the Gambia government has taken towards tobacco control.
Tobacco control is very high on the agenda of the Gambia government as clearly manifested in The Gambia’s no tolerance to tobacco smoking in public places Act in 1998, endorsed by the Gambian leader on 23 September 1998, said Mr Njie.
“I assure you that my ministry, in collaboration with the ministries of the Interior and Justice and RAID The Gambia, will work very closely with its partners in the fight against tobacco use to raise awareness on the enforcement of the smoking ban in public places,” he said.
According to Mr Njie, WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which The Gambia is a signatory, shows the government’s commitment to implementing the treaty’s articles and obligations.
Mamadou Bamba Sagna, representative of African Tobacco Control Consortium (ATCC), said the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) derived from the United Nations Millennium Declaration 2000, has called on member states to work together to eliminate extreme poverty and hunger, to improve health, and to promote human development and sustainable economic progress in the world’s poorest nations.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) commission on Macroeconomics and Health (CMH) in 2001 highlighted the link between poor health and lack of economic progress,” he said.
He added that it identified tobacco as a major avoidable cause of illness and premature death in low-income countries, and urged that tobacco control be enacted to improve the prospects of the world’s poorest billion people.
Samboujang Conteh, executive director of RAID-The Gambia, said RAID-The Gambia is a national NGO established in 1993.
“Our main objective is to complement the effort of the government to achieve their development aspiration in health,” Mr Conteh said, adding that their research has revealed that most of the young people in the country using drugs started with cigarettes smoking.
“It’s important for our agency to work with the Ministry of Health and WHO with other stakeholders to fully implement WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in The Gambia,” the RAID country director said.