WHO FCTC needs assessment in the United Republic of Tanzania

Several state and non-state actors met virtually and face-to-face the week of 28 June 2021 in Dar Es Salaam for a needs assessment exercise for the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

Aimed at assessing the implementation of the Treaty that the United Republic of Tanzania ratified in 2007, this exercise is jointly led by the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children (MoH CDGEC) of Tanzania, the Secretariat of the WHO FCTC, World Health Organization and the United Nations Development Program.

The needs assessment exercise will also help identify tobacco control gaps as well as make recommendations to further strengthen implementation of the Treaty to ensure universal protection from the harms of tobacco smoke in the United Republic of Tanzania. As part of the needs assessment process, a series of bilateral meetings with various government departments and other stakeholders took place from 28 to 30 June 2021.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Dr. V.T. Wonanji of the MoHCDGEC reaffirmed the Government’s determination to reverse the current trend of tobacco use in the country and called on the country “to consider accelerating the implementation of the WHO FCTC as an important element in our efforts to advance sustainable development.”

Dr Tigest Ketsela Mengestu, WHO representative applauded the government’s commitment to strengthen implementation of the Convention as a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to tobacco control and an accelerator for sustainable development. She assured participants of WHO’s continuous support to government’s efforts to curb the tobacco epidemic in the country.

While acknowledging the importance of tobacco growing to the livelihoods of tobacco farmers and their families, Mr Andrew Black reminded participants that the WHO FCTC includes an Article that says that tobacco workers and growers who want to switch from tobacco to other economically viable alternatives should be supported to do so.  “For this reason, we want to promote the WHO FCTC as being pro-farmer, not anti-farmer as many of the big international tobacco companies try to suggest”, Mr Black added.

This needs assessment exercise is taking place thanks to the generous financial support of the Government of the Republic of Korea with the technical support of the Secretariat of the WHO FCTC.

Source: WHO FCTC