GOVT, WHO PLOT AGAINST TOBACCO

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By SANDRA MACHIMA

THE Ministry of Health is working on a comprehensive strategic plan with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Zambia on the enactment of a law on tobacco.

The Nicotine Products and Control Bill is meant to ensure harmful products to health are regulated.

WHO representative Agatha Shula said a team of health experts was working on a monitoring and evaluation strategic plan that would ensure the bill was enacted to protect the lives of people.

According to reports, 400, 000 deaths were recorded in Zambia as a result of non-communicable diseases.

Health experts believe that that with a law in place, there would be a reduction of effects of non-communicable diseases said to be responsible for an estimated number of deaths in Zambia.

The law is also aimed at saving the resources the government is losing on non-communicable diseases.

Ms Shula said currently, the bill was waiting for a high level consultative meetings using different forums.

The process needed concerted efforts from all the stakeholders involved in combating non-communicable diseases that were caused by harmful products found in tobacco.

Ms Shula said the process might take long because of various stages and technical issues.

Civil society organisations advocating the reduction of tobacco use in Zambia needed to re-strategise and ensure massive sensitisation for the people to understand the dangers and harms in smoking tobacco.

The bill is aimed at reducing the effects of non-communicable diseases that were responsible for some deaths in Zambia.

Recently, the Centre for Primary Health Care Research (CPHCR) department at the University of Zambia health expert Fastone Goma said the country was spending colossal sums of money on the treatment of tuberculosis, cancer and other communicable diseases.

Professor Goma said tobacco caused harm at every stage of its life cycle, from cultivation to disposal, linking to an ever increasing list of diseases and burdened health systems.

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