Jan 25, 2013, 9:44 AM
African Network for Information and Action Against Drugs (RAID The Gambia) on Wednesday organised a one-day forum for its technical team members to discuss the preparation of a survey on Tobacco Baseline and Control Action Plan for the period 2012-2015.
The forum, held at the President’s Award Scheme in Bakau, was meant to scrutinize the draft document and see the best way to put its content.
In his speech, the director of Raid The Gambia, Samboujang Conteh, said Tobacco claims more than 5,000,000 lives every year and The Gambia is not an exception.
“It is our responsibility to complement the effort of our government to achieve the 2020 development blueprint,” he said, adding that the expected outcome from the forum is to draw a Comprehensive Tobacco Control Action Plan from 2012-2015.
According to him, the National Assembly of The Gambia has ratified WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco (FCTC) on 5 June 2007, without any amendment, said the president.
The Gambia becomes the 148th country or state party to the convention, he said, noting that it is an obligation for every country to fully implement the FCTC.
“The government alone cannot do it alone; it is also our agency in collaboration with the WHO and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the Tobacco focal person said, while appealing to all institutional representatives as a stakeholder to go through the FCTC.
The Gambia government’s interest in this programme is to see that the FCTC is fully implemented in the next few years to come, he noted, saying: “What we need to do now is to identify what is required for strong and effective tobacco control campaign in the country as well as map the current political context surrounding tobacco control in The Gambia.”
Momodou Gassama health promotion officer from WHO country office said tobacco is a serious killer noting that smoking among minors has risen in the country.
Other speakers on the occasion included, Seedy Njie, a nominated member of the National Assembly, and Yero Bah, the Tobacco focal person at the Ministry of Health.