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Kampala, May 19, 2016 

The Uganda Tobacco Control Act 2015 has come into force today, six months after being   gazetted on 18th November 2015. The tobacco control bill was passed by Parliament on 28th July 2015, and was assented to by the President on 19th September 2015. The Act is a fulfilment of Uganda’s obligations to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control ( FCTC) which  the country signed on 5th March 2004 and ratified on 20th June 2007.

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The  Executive Secretary ( ES) of The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), Zimbabwe, Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie this morning paid a courtesy call to the Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa ( CTCA)  at Centre’s premises in Kasangati, near Kampala. The ES was received by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Finance and Administration, Makerere University, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, who is also the chairperson of the CTCA Steering Committee. 

In his welcome remarks, Prof. Nawangwe thanked ACBF for the support rendered to the Centre. He reiterated Makerere University’s commitment to ensuring that the Centre benefits the whole of Africa by supporting governments to implement evidence based tobacco control strategies. 

Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie stressed the need for strengthening capacity development for tobacco control leadership as a strategy to generate the much required political will to move the tobacco control agenda.  He said tobacco use is a growing challenge affecting many Africans and yet still has a lot of capacity gaps that required concerted efforts to address. 

The Acting Centre Manager, Ms. Jennifer Kalule highlighted some of the achievements that the Centre has attained during the phase II implementation that is supported through ACBF. 

 

Stakeholders attending the 3rd Pan-African Capacity Development Forum ( ACDF) in Harare, Zimbabwe have been cautioned to invest in capacity for tobacco control as one of the priorities for the social economic transformation for Africa.

This was during aside event organized by the Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa  ( CTCA), May 4th, during the 3rd ACDF that also marked ACBF’s silver anniversary.  The session was moderated by Dr. Roger Atindehou, the Manager Operations at the ACBF. 

Presenting a paper on ‘Investing in Tobacco Control capacity for Africa, the Centre Director also Dean of the School of Public Health, Prof. William Bazeyo warned that  Africa is poised to become the future epi-centre of the tobacco epidemic if nothing is done to invest tobacco control capacity.  He stressed that with the high burden of communicable diseases that Africa is faced with, lack of control of the non-communicable diseases, to which tobacco is a key risk factor, would water down the efforts in the communicable diseases and lead to a double tragedy. 

Prof. Bazeyo revealed that although Africa is at the early stages of the tobacco epidemic, 

researchers estimate that if African countries put appropriate policies in place, the region could avoid 139 million premature deaths by 2100. This he emphasised, can best be achieved through investing in tobacco control capacity.

Mr. Deowan Mohee from ATCA who was one of the panelists said one of the biggest capacity gaps for tobacco control in Africa is the dependency of donor funding which he said may not always respond to the real needs of the African continent. He urged partners to invest in building capacity for resource mobilization for tobacco control  as a strategy for attaining a tobacco free Africa.

Ms. Ema Wanyonyi from Kenya’s International Legislative Association ( ILA) emphasized the need for mainstreaming tobacco control in other public health programs adding that tobacco being a cross cutting factor needs concerted efforts to minimize its effects. 

The stakeholders who attended the side event in big numbers stressed the need to control the activities of the tobacco industry and to empower governments to implement both demand and supply reduction interventions identified by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).   Participants specifically cited the need for countries to build capacity to control illicit trade of tobacco products as well as capacity to support countries develop and implement alternative livelihood policies for tobacco farmers. Tobacco taxation was also discussed a key measure that countries need to adopt it not only reduces consumption, but also enables governments to get the much needed money to treat tobacco related illnesses and diseases. 

The 3rd Pan African Capacity Development Forum (CDF3) has been held  in Harare, Zimbabwe by the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) to coincide with the Silver Jubilee of  ACBF.  The three day Forum was held from May 3- 5, 2016 under the theme Developing Capacity for Africa’s Economic and Social Transformation’ and generated various debates among the delegates. It was attended by both regional and international development and capacity building partners as well as academia and researchers. Participants decried the fact that "Capacity remains the missing link to sustainable development in Africa. Participants also emphasized that for Africa to attain its development agenda, governments and partners must work together to build capacity for fighting corruption and increasing domestic resources to ensure that Africa is not donor dependent. 

Officiating at the celebrations, the Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Hon. Phelekezela Mphoko stressed the like ACBF;

"Future generations will never forgive us, if we do not provide the required support and attention to a pan-African institution such as ACBF." 

Hon. Phelekezela Mphoko emphasized the need to develop and harness specific skills required for the attainment of Africa development agenda.

The Executive Secretary of ACBF,  Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie, noted that what Africa needs is more than economic growth, adding that  African countries need enhanced social capacity for job creation so as to attain economic and social transformation.   

Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie urged the remaining 15 African nations that have not subscribed to the Pan African Development Forum to do so to enable them transform good strategies into implementation.

The discussions during the three days also focused on the need to build further capacity for the attainment of both Agenda 2063 for Africa and the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Stakeholders noted that continent requires sustainable capacity to implement the transformative vision it has defined for itself under the  AU Agenda 2063, as well as to achieve the global Sustainable Development Goals shaped in September 2015.  ACBF was specifically hailed for spearheading the realization of capacity development in Africa in the last two decades. 

During the celebrations, a number of partners showcased the need for developing capacity for the various priority areas that are key to Africa’s social economic transformation.  The Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa  ( CTCA), led by the Centre Director  and Dean Makerere University School of Public Health Prof. William Bazeyo presented a case for investing in tobacco control.  The Centre warned that unless something is done  to strengthen the capacity for tobacco control in  Africa, the continent is poised to face a double epidemic of both communicable and Non- Communicable Diseases (NCDs), with tobacco being a major risk factor for the NCDs.

At the end of the three days, stakeholders identified the capacity needs of the continent focusing on the role of governments, development partners, civil society, private sector and the media, developing capacities for resource mobilization, among others. Tobacco control investment was cited as one of Africa’s priorities.

 

Legislators in Gambia have committed to passing a comprehensive tobacco control law compliant with  the provisions of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The legislators, led by the Speaker of the Gambia National Assembly, Hon. Abdoulie Bojang revealed that a number of them have been victims of the devastating effects of tobacco use having been smokers, and would therefore want to pass a law that will minimize such effects on both the current and future generations. This was during a session on the tobacco control bill that was held at the National Assembly by both CTCA and the WHO to orient the legislators on the bill that is due to be tabled in parliament. The bill, that is ready for tabling in parliament, awaits the endorsement of cabinet. The legislators assured both CTCA and WHO that the Bill will not meet any resistance the moment it is brought to the floor of Parliament. 

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