#Article (Archive)

Gambia scoops awards: WHO

Jun 24, 2016, 10:33 AM

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recognised the “world’s most outstanding tobacco control champions for 2016” among whom The Gambia scooped two precious awards.

Special recognition is accorded Health Minister Dr Omar Sey and the Multi-sectoral Working Group for Tobacco Control, who are the two winners from The Gambia.

Every year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognizes individuals or organisations in each of the six WHO Regions for their accomplishments in the area of tobacco control.

This recognition takes the form of WHO Director-General Special Recognition Awards, World No Tobacco Day Awards, and WHO Director-General’s Special Recognition Certificates.

According to the WHO, the 28 recipients of this year’s awards consist of individuals, institutions and organisations from the six regions of the World Health Organisation.

“The Gambia alone collected two out of the five awards received by the whole of the African Region,” a recent press release by the WHO stated, adding: “The other winners came from Rwanda, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

Honourable Omar Sey, Minister of Health and Social Welfare and the Multi-sectoral Working Group for Tobacco Control “are the two winners from The Gambia”, the release stated.

It stated: “WHO awarded Honourable Omar Sey for demonstrating a strong leadership, advocacy and commitment in support of tobacco control in The Gambia, which paves the way for development of the first ever comprehensive tobacco control bill and the development and launching of clinical guidelines for tobacco cessation.So far, the Gambia is the first country in the African Region to develop and launch tobacco cessation clinical guidelines in line with the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

“The Multi-sectoral Working Group for Tobacco Control, established by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in 2012, comprises about forty sectors including most of the ministries of Government, civil society and the United Nations System.The Group is recognized for its outstanding role in coordinating national efforts for tobacco control.It is also recognized as a model for other countries in the African Region to emulate in support of the multi-sectoral push the World Health Organisation is advocating for tobacco control and the broader non-communicable diseases prevention and control.

“Furthermore, the efforts of this multi-sectoral platformhave also contributed tothe successful implementation by the Gambia of a three-yeartobacco taxationpolicy(2013-2015), which has yieldedadditional revenuefor Government and alsoreducedthe volumeof tobacco imports into The Gambia.

“As we celebrate these achievements together, the World Health Organisation wishes to express its gratitude to the Government and people of The Gambia as well as civil society organisations for their contributions and commitment to controlling a product (tobacco) that continues to kill nearly 6 million people globally each year.”