Niamey, December 7, 2016
The Director General of Health Services for the Ministry of Health in Niger, Dr. Yaroh Asma Gali has hailed the CTCA’s efforts aimed at supporting Niger to implement the various aspects of the tobacco control law.
Dr. Yaroh Asma was meeting with a team of technical staff from CTCA currently in Niger for a mission to orient media practitioners as well as the key actors in the implementation of the smoke free environments law. She noted that although Niger enacted the tobacco control law in May 2006, the implementation has been a challenge, adding that the initiative by CTCA to accelerate this process is greatly appreciated by her government. Dr. Yaroh stressed the need for all the stakeholders to work together to implement the law adding that tobacco control can only be attained through a multi-sectoral approach because the effects of tobacco use are cross cutting. She specifically pointed out the need for a clean and smoke free environment which she said is beneficial to everyone.
CTCA’s Technical Advisor Policy, Mr. Ndao Ouma, who headed the team reiterated CTCA’s commitment to tobacco control not just in Niger but in the entire region of Africa. Speaking on behalf of the CTCA Director, also Dean of the School of Public Health Prof. William Bazeyo, Mr Ndao stressed that the promotion of smoke free environments one of the proven tobacco control interventions recommended by the WHO Framework Convention on tobacco control. He said compliance to this however calls for creating public awareness about the dangers of tobacco and the existence of a law that deters smokers from smoking in public places.
As part of the mission, a team of 20 journalists have been trained in advocacy and communication skills for tobacco control to empower them to effectively sensitize the public on the dangers of tobacco use, and de-normalize tobacco use, especially in public places. At the end of the two day engagement with the media, the journalists agreed to constitute themselves into a platform for creating awareness about the dangers of tobacco and supporting the implementation of the TC law through both the traditional and social media networks.
The media training was followed by a one day session for managers and owners of public places including public and private transport companies, hotels, bars and restaurants, tourist associations, sanitary police as well as work places represented by the Association of trade unions.
According to Niger’s law, it is forbidden to smoke in all public places like hotels, restaurants, bars, airports, work places, conference halls, bus stations, markets, schools, hospitals, public and private vehicles, planes, among others. The Law however provides for demarcated smoking zones.
The managers and owners of these public places have all unanimously agreed to abide by the law and to install the necessary mechanisms for the compliance like the posting of ‘ No smoking signages’ in visible locations in all these places.