The World Health Organization (WHO) recognized the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia's House of People's Representatives for the enormous efforts they put to adopt the Food and Medicine Proclamation No. 1112/2019 in which strong tobacco legislations are incorporated. The House of People's Representatives of Ethiopia is one of the six recipients of the No Tobacco Award for 2019.
Dr Paul Mainuka, Officer-In-Charge of the WHO Ethiopia, on behalf of Dr Tedros Adhanom, WHO Director General, handed over the Director-General's Special Recognition medal and a certificate of appreciation award to H.E Mr. Tagesse Chafo, Speaker of the House of People's Representatives. The ceremonial activity took place on 18 June 2019, during the 44th regular meeting of the House of People's Representatives.
The event was graced with the presence of honorary members of the House, H.E Dr Amir Aman, Minister of Health; and Mrs. Heran Gebra, Director General of Food and Medicine Administration Authority; as well as heads of civil societies and celebrities who played a valuable role in support of the bill.
Coinciding with the World No Tobacco Day celebration, WHO recognizes individuals or organizations in each of the six WHO Regions for their accomplishments in the area of tobacco control. In Ethiopia, this award is for the third time since 2014, witnessing the progress that the country is making in strengthening tobacco control. The first award was dedicated for the role the House played in ratification of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2014, and the second award was given in 2017 to Tigray Regional State Health Bureau for its remarkable achievement in the enforcement of smoke free laws in the region.
Dr Paul Mainuka, congratulated the House on behalf of Dr Tedros Adhanom, WHO Director General, for their commitment in the adoption of the proclamation. "We need to work hard on realizing effective enforcement, which is a crucial task to combat the huge threat posed by tobacco to the health, national economy and overall social development of the nation," he reminded the House on what remains to be achieved, adding that "It is now high time to intensify comprehensive tobacco control measures. Evidently, strong enforcement can only be realized through devising sustainable strategies and mechanisms of enforcement wherein the public and managers or employers of public places take part and own the enforcement process."
Minister of Health, H.E Dr Amir Aman, on his part, thanked the House for successfully adopting the legislation. The Minister emphasized, "Though it is an achievement to adopt such a strong legislation, it is also necessary for the House to make sure that strong monitoring and controlling activities are in place by the executive bodies and realize accountability."
Specifically, he called upon House for the immediate attention and strong commitment in the implementation of (1) Smoke-free workplaces by Federal Government Organizations; (2) Protecting public and work places from tobacco smoke; (3) Prohibiting of sell of tobacco products by and to any person of under the age 21; (4) Illicit trade in tobacco products; (5) Excise tax on tobacco products and (6) Protection against tobacco industry interference.
He also expressed the readiness of his Ministry to make maximum efforts for the successful enforcement of the legislation in collaboration with regional governments.
Receiving this award on behalf of the House of People's Representatives, H.E. Mr. Tagesse Chafo thanked WHO for the recognition and expressed the House's continued commitment and dedication in ensuring the enforcement of the 1112/2011 Food and Medicine Proclamation.
In addition to the award, the House of People's Representative has also, on this day, inaugurated a billboard signaling a smoke-free premise which was in recognition of the Food and Medicine Proclamation No. 1112/2011. The billboard was unveiled by H.E Mr. Tagesse Chafo, H.E Dr Amir Aman, and Dr Paul Mainuka.
Following the Resolution WHA42.19 of the World Health Assembly in 1988, the World No Tobacco Day is observed annually on 31 May, linking each year to a different tobacco-related theme. The day is an opportunity to raise awareness on the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure, and to discourage the use of tobacco in any form. The 2019 World No Tobacco Day focuses on "tobacco and lung health."
Ethiopia has joined the international community to commemorate the 2019 World No Tobacco Day 2019 through different activities: panel discussion, short educational plays by school children, mass walk, press conference, TV shows, and TV and radio spots mainly focusing on promoting the new proclamation to the different stakeholders.
For More Information, Please Contact
Mr Wassihun Melaku Belay
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email: belayw [at] who.int
Ms Feleseta Kassaye Woldtsadique
Tobacco Communication Consultant
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email: woldtsadiquef [at] who.int