WHO To Expand Tobacco Control Efforts In Africa
The WHO announced Friday it was expanding its efforts to control tobacco use in Africa, Reuters/ABC News reports. TheÂ agency “said it wanted to stop tobacco from becoming as prevalent in Africa as it is in other parts of the world and would set up a regional hub in 2010 for health experts to work with governments to introduce anti-smoking policies,” the news service writes.
“Experts at the center will work with governments to help them introduce and enforce policies such as smoke-free public places and bans on tobacco advertising and sponsorship for sports and other events” (Kelland, 12/4).
“Tobacco use is the most preventable cause of illness and death,” said Ala Alwan, WHO assistant director-general for noncommunicable diseases and mental health, the Daily Monitor/allAfrica.com reports. “It kills more than 5 million people per year. Unchecked, it will kill more than 8 million people per year by 2030, with more than 80% of those deaths occurring in developing countries,” he said (12/6).
The initiative will be funded, in part, by a $10 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Xinhua reports (12/4).
“Working with governments and partner organizations, we can help in preventing tobacco from gaining the upper hand,” said Douglas Bettcher, director of WHOâ€™s Tobacco Free Initiative, according to the U.N. News Centre (12/4).