WHO awards Botswana activist for anti-tobacco advocacy

Botswana’s renowned anti-tobacco activist Alice Mbongwe has received special recognition from World Health Organization (WHO) for her advocacy on tobacco control.

Mbongwe is an employee of University of Botswana (UB) and also director of the Anti-Tobacco Network (ATN).

Josephine Namboze, WHO executive director for Botswana on Tuesday said Mbongwe is one of six African awardees this year, nominated for supporting tobacco control efforts and monitoring industry activities.

“This award was established by the office of the WHO Director General years ago to appreciate notable contributions to tobacco control by non-state actors,” said Namboze, citing that the award is one of the several strategies being used to appreciate individuals and non-state actors promoting health protection on tobacco.

The award was presented to Mbongwe on a day to celebrate “World No Tobacco Day” as several stakeholders in the country, including Ministry of Health and Wellness, medical practitioners and the Anti-Tobacco Network joined forces to endorse the country’s Tobacco Control Bill to be presented and passed in parliament soon.

The Tobacco Control Bill intends to protect the public from exposure to tobacco smoke, advertizing, promotion and sponsorship and also seeks to demand a reduction of measures concerning tobacco dependence and cessation, illicit trade in tobacco products, sales to and by minors.

The recipient of the award expressed gratitude on receiving the award. “I am earnestly grateful for the recognition. Tobacco control landscape is a complicated turf that covers health, economy, environment and people’s behavior.”

Source: News Ghana