Kampala, October 13, 2015 –
Tobacco Control advocates from five African countries are attending a training in Kampala, Uganda to equip them with techniques to effectively search, use and disseminate information from the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library. The objective of the three day workshop, October 13-15, 2015, is to ensure that actors are able to use tobacco industry information to mitigate Industry interference in tobacco control policy and legislation in Africa.
The participating countries include Botswana, Ethiopia, Gambia, Kenya, and Uganda the host. The training is facilitated by CTCA in partnership with Dr. Marty Otañez with the University of Colorado Denver. It is part of a project for implementing tobacco industry documents research in Africa (TIDRA). It is premised on the basis that millions of pages of formerly secret tobacco industry documents are located in an online library at the University of California, San Francisco, providing public health policy makers and advocates with tools to publicize how tobacco companies harm populations and use the same information to enhance successful implementation of the FCTC in Africa.
Officiating at the opening of the training at Hotel Africana this morning, the Director General of Health Services, represented by Dr. Sheila Ndyanabangi, hailed the training saying that it will help actors in Africa to access the TI documents which is an invaluable input to the implementation of the WHO FCTC. She stressed the need for partners to be well coordinated and work as a team, adding that one of the reasons Uganda passed a strong law is that the partners worked as a team under the TC Coordination Mechanism. Dr. Ndyanabangi emphasized that capacity building is equally critical because actors need to be knowledgeable to be able to effectively counter tobacco industry interference.
The Dean of Makerere University School of Public Health ( MakSPH), also CTCA Director, Prof. William Bazeyo called for the establishment of an African based library that will be used as a reference for tobacco control, and more specifically for monitoring and responding to tobacco industry interference. He cautioned the actors to always be on the lookout for the tactics of the Tobacco Industry, adding that the TI is always coming up with strategies to obstruct health policies.
One of the key outcomes of the training is the formation of Tobacco Industry Monitoring (TIM) teams to integrate documents research in their regular TC work. Participants are also expected to develop implementation plans for publications tailored to the Africa context.