VALD calls for support for tobacco control initiatives
The Vision for Alternative Development (VALD), a non-governmental organization, called on stakeholders to rally support for tobacco control initiatives to reduce the crime rate in the tobacco trade and increase income for health and Development.
This would help reduce tobacco-related illnesses and deaths.
Mr. Labram Musah, Program Director of VALD made the appeal in a speech at the Second Inter-Agency Tobacco Control Meeting on the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products held in Accra.
The meeting aimed to facilitate discussions on the legislative framework for the implementation of the protocol, organized by VALD in collaboration with the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA).
Mr. Musah said the rationale for the illegal trade protocol was clear; “Recognizing the enormity of the illicit trade in tobacco products, the international community has come together to draft the protocol to eliminate the illicit trade in tobacco products and provide guidance on developing comprehensive strategies to address the problem.
“Currently, many countries in the African region have started requiring picture health warnings on tobacco products and we are also pleased to note that Ghana is among the countries requiring pictures on their packaging. Not to mention the revenue stamps put in place by the Ghana Revenue Authority, ”he said.
Mr Musah said it was a great effort to control the illicit trade, which had exposed the weaknesses at the country’s borders, adding that: “We hope there will be a lot more consultation on the way. to be continued regarding shisha in Ghana “.
He recommended that the Ministry of Health and the FDA) resurrect the Interagency Coordinating Committee on Tobacco Control (TCIACC) to help reduce the impact of tobacco in Ghana in all its aspects.
“Imagine a lethal and deadly product with legitimacy to kill, now adulterated / polluted – your guess is as good as mine… no more death and disability, so illicit tobacco needs to be dealt with head-on,” he said. he declares.
Dr Olivia Boateng, FDA Tobacco and Substance Abuse Officer and Focal Person for Tobacco Control – Ghana, said that as a country Ghana has made significant progress in the fight tobacco control through the various tobacco control policies described in Part 6 of the Public Health Act 2012 (ACT 851).
“However, much effort is continually required to counter the infiltration of illicit tobacco in Ghana and success can only be achieved with the concerted efforts of development partners, CSOs and stakeholders,” he said. she declared.
Dr Boateng said that as a regulator, the FDA is represented at all border crossings across the country to intercept and seize all illicit tobacco products destined for the Ghanaian market.
“The Authority also oversees the registration of tobacco companies, imports, sale and supply of tobacco through inspections and other surveillance activities.
Various requirements have also been set to improve the easy identification of licit tobacco products in the market, ”she said.
“These are all measures taken to control the infiltration of our market by illicit tobacco products. For example, the labeling of tobacco products destined for the Ghanaian market should include “For sale in Ghana only”, emission statements and pictorial health warnings validated for use in Ghana.
Although all of these measures are in place to combat illicit trade, there have been setbacks in the control of the tobacco products supply chain; most notably in the three northern regions where there have been cases of contraband tobacco products, she said.
Dr Boateng expressed hope that the implementation of the protocol would help address some of the challenges and advance the country’s successes in tobacco control.
She commended VALD for co-hosting the meeting and WHO and other stakeholders for their continued support in eliminating illicit trade in tobacco products.