On 15th May 2003, the 56th World Health Assembly adopted the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The objective of the FCTC is “to protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke”. In Feb 2005, WHO FCTC came to force and Uganda ratified the convention and become a party in 2007.
Consequently, The Government of Uganda passed the Tobacco Control Act 2015 which came to full force in May 2017. The TCA 2015 seeks to “control the demand for the consumption of tobacco and its products, to control the supply of tobacco and its products to the population. To protect the environment from the effects of tobacco production and consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke, to promote the health of the persons and reduce tobacco-related illness and deaths.
Tobacco use causes more than 7million preventable deaths annually. More than 890,000 die due to secondhand smoking (WHO 2018). Additionally, it is a leading risk factor for NCD, causes 71% of lung cancer, 42% of chronic respiratory diseases and nearly 10% cardiovascular diseases, numerous cancers, miscarriages, male impotence, premature aging and loss of appetite. Annual tobacco-related deaths are expected to rise to 10 million by 2020and 70% of whom are to be in low- and middle-income countries If nothing is done to stem the current trends (WHO 2011). Moreover, the current tobacco use in Uganda stands at 11.6% for men and 4.6% for women. Its estimated that 1.3 million adults used tobacco products. 13.1% and 7.8% of adults have were exposed to tobacco smoke at home and while in public transportation (GATS 2013,).
Economically, the Health Cost of Tobacco Use in Uganda Report (CTCA 2017) is USD 126.48 million more than the market value USD 81.22million of tobacco products. This means that the cost of tobacco exceeds its benefits.
Uganda Health Communication Alliance has taken the mandate to work with partners in the cause of tobacco control. With a key focus on empowering media for creating awareness about the effects of tobacco use, mobilizing resources and expanding media environment, UHCA has undertaken several; projects. These include but not limited to:
- Media training in regions of Uganda. This was carried out to build the capacity of journalists and media houses in reporting about tobacco control. For example; in the Karamoja region, West Nile Region, Western Region, and South Western.
- Over 1000 journalists trained and are part of the UHCA fellowship.
- Over 20 media houses in different regions of the country through onsite media training.
- Social media capacity building for over 10 partners CSOs.
- Mourning Tobacco Deaths in Mbarara, Mbale, Arua, and Kampala
- The launch of Tobacco Death Clock
- Commemoration of World No Tobacco Day yearly.
- Coordination meetings with partner CSOs and TC Champions.
- Radio and TV talk shows.
- The launch of Kampala Smoke-Free City.
- Participant in drafting the TCA 2015.
- TC seminars, media dialogues, and symposiums
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