Professor Fastone Matthew Goma extols MoH’s Sylvia Tembo-Masebo a good health champion
By DERRICK SINJELA
THE Ministry of Health (MOH) joined the First ever ‘Tobacco Control Health Race (Walk) and Aerobics Mania’ organized by the Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) Executive Director Isaac Able Mwaipopo and Center for Primary Care Research director, Professor Fastone Matthew Goma on Saturday, 28th January, 2023.
The Tobacco Control Health Race and Aerobics Mania at East Piaza, East Park Mall themed: ‘Pass The Tobacco Control Bill & Protect The Present and Future Generation”, choreography by Coach Tiger and the Defined Style Fitness Crew
The walk and aerobics were held to promote healthy lifestyles and raise awareness around the harmful effects of` substance abuse among young people, as well as champion legal and policy reforms that protect youth and adults from harmful substances such as tobacco were preceded by a walk CTPD office, a stone throw from Parliament Building (Manda Hill) to East Park Mall, were Zambia Tobacco Control Consortium (ZTCC) Chairperson, Professor Goma was found leading aerobics enthusiasts.
Professor Goma, a heart specialist is hopeful that Minister of Health Sylvia Masebo will facilitate domestication of the Framework Conversation on Tobacco Control (FCTC) after close to a 20 year (two decades) wait.
ZTCC Chairperson Professor Goma is optimistic that in the next sitting of cabinet will see the Tobacco Control Bill being approved by the Zambian Cabinet and taken to Parliament for domestication.
Prof. Goma says it has been a long walk for the past 15 Years which has saw the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD 1991-2011) and Patriotic Front (PF 2011-2021) administrations come and go but to no avail pertaining to domestication of the FCTC.
However, Prof. Goma praised Health Minister Tembo-Masebo of being a champion of against tobacco abuse.
And on her part, Ms. Tembo-Masebo through the Ndeke House Spokesperson Dr. Kalangwa Kalangwa assured the consortium that their dream to domesticate the FCTC will be achieved before the end of the year (2023).
Dr. Kalangwa, Director Health Promoting, Environment and Social Determinants represented Health Minister Ms. Tembo-Masebo.
According to Brian Bwembya also known as Bflow and Zambian Developmental Media Alliance (ZADEMA) Executive Member Ashton Kelly Bunda, over 7, 142 tobacco related deaths are annually recorded in Zambia.
Tobacco kills over 7,142 Zambians per year, 60 percent of whom are under 70 years of age and causes loss of between 116 and 427 healthy years of life.
According to the Tobacco Control investment case 2018 and the Non-Communicable Diseases Investment case 2019 of the economic damage, tobacco use is causing Zambia lose in excess of K 2.8 billion per year, and sadly the tobacco industry has 1.4 million Zambians using smoke-related products.
Mr. Bunda is worried that smokers are at high risk of developing severe disease and death from Coronavirus (Covid-19) hence a clarion call championing good health beyond Zambia.
“The Tobacco industry sees a huge market in Africa and will no doubt continue to attempt to attract as many people to its products as possible,” laments Mr. Buñda.
The Republic of Zambia is a Lower Middle-income country in the centre of southern Africa which shares borders with Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Malawi.
Life expectancy at birth is 62.3 years and 57.3% of the 9 million resident adult population earning less than the international poverty line of US$1.90 per day.23
Smoking in Zambia
In 2019, the Ministry of Health of Zambia stated that the smoking prevalence was 24% in men and 7.8% in women.
The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that the number of smokers in Zambia will increase by an additional 300,000 people by 2025.
The number of tobacco-related deaths in Zambia increased from an estimated 3,000 per year (43 per 100,000) in 1990 to 7,142 per year (45 per 100,000) in 2020.
Tobacco in Zambia
According to WHO estimates, Zambia is among the top five tobacco leaf growing countries in Africa and accounted in 2012 for 9.7% of tobacco leaf production in Africa.
Consecutive Zambian National Development Plans have emphasised the importance of tobacco production to the Zambian economy.
The agricultural land devoted to the harvesting of tobacco in Zambia increased between 1996 and 2016 by nearly 2000% and the export quantity increased by nearly 800% in the same period.
The value of the export of tobacco leaf has increased from US$1.4 million in 1995 to US$139.9 million in 2016.
However, the Ministry of Health of Zambia stated in 2019 that: “tobacco represents only a small percentage of total agricultural products exported and employs only 0.5 percent of small and medium scale farmers” and that about “sixty percent of tobacco farmers in Zambia are considering switching to other crops”.
Zambia is moving towards greater capacity for the processing of tobacco leaf and manufacturing of tobacco products.
In 2018, British American Tobacco Zambia and Roland Imperial Tobacco opened cigarette-manufacturing facilities in the Lusaka Multi-Facility Economic Zone, with reported capability of producing more than 20 million cigarettes daily aimed at both the export and domestic markets.
“The factory now has an installed capacity to produce 21,000 cigarettes per minute, with a running time of 15 hours per day. The state of the art of machinery, sourced from the manufacturers of the best and robust cigarette manufacturing equipment in the world, has a capacity of seven billion cigarettes per annum,” read a Roland Imperial Tobacco Press Statement.
In parallel with the increased manufacturing capacity, cigarettes are becoming more affordable in Zambia.
Estimates from the Economist Intelligence Unit showed the inflation-adjusted price of factory-made cigarettes had nearly halved between 2002 and 2016.
In the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Zambia, only 27% of male smokers and quitters reported that the price of cigarettes led them to think about quitting.
Furthermore, in stark contrast with the WHO recommended 75% tax share, in 2016 Zambia’s tax comprised only 37% of the retail price of cigarettes of the most popular brand, compared with the 56% global average.
ROADMAP TO TOBACCO CONTROL
Laws and regulations relating to tobacco in Zambia date back to the Tobacco Levy (no 64 of 1967, amended to Act No. 13 of 1994).
In December, 1992, the Public Health (Tobacco) Regulations (Statutory Instrument No. 163 of 1992) of the Public Health Act (Laws, Volume XI. Cap.535) banned sales to minors under the age of 16, product giveaways and pro-tobacco advertising in the media.
Further, regulations included a ban on smoking in various public places (including government buildings, private worksites, educational facilities, healthcare facilities and public transport) and text-based tobacco labelling regulations of tobacco products.
Zambia signed the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) on Friday, 23rd May, 2008 and ratified the treaty, a legal action indicating a country’s consent to be bound by its terms, on Thursday, 21st August, 2008.
In April 2008, the Local Government (Prohibition of Smoking in Public Place) Regulations (Statutory Instrument No. 39 of 2008) of The Local Government Act (Laws, Volume 16, Cap 281) banned smoking in all public places.
However, the regulations introduced in April 2008 failed to comply with the FCTC and several reports highlight the lack of effective enforcement of these legal frameworks.
The Zambia Tobacco and Nicotine Products Control Bill was first drafted in 2010 but was deemed to require further revision and consultations during a “consensus building” process with stakeholders.
• GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES
• MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT REPRESENTATIVES
• CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS PRESENT
• MEMBERS OF THE PRESS
• LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
• ALL PROTOCOLS OBSERVED
A VERY GOOD MORNING TO YOU ALL, AND A WARM WELCOME TO THE FIRST EVER TOBACCO CONTROL AEROBICS MANIA BEEN ORGANIZED BY THE CENTRE FOR TRADE POLICY AND DEVELOPMENT AND ITS PARTNERS. THE AEROBCS ARE BEING HELD TO PROMOTE HEALTHY LIFESTYLES AND RAISE AWARENESS AROUND THE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF` SUBSTANCE ABUSE AMONG YOUNG PEOPLE, AS WELL AS CHAMPION LEGAL AND POLICY REFORMS THAT PROTECT YOUNG PEOPLE FROM HARMFUL SUBSTANCES.
OVER 7,000 PEOPLE DIE ANNUALLY IN ZAMBIA DUE TO TOBACCO RELATED DISEASES WITH YOUTHS AND ADOLESCENTS BEING THE MOST AT RISK. THE MOST RECENT GLOBAL ADULT TOBACCO SURVEY REVEALS THAT CONSUMPTION OF TOBACCO IS INCREASING AMONG ADOLESCENTS AND YOUTHS. AMONG THE REASONS CITED FOR THIS INCLUDE, ACCESSIBILITY AND AFFORDABILITY OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS THROUGH AMONG OTHER MEANS ILLICIT TRADE SUCH AS SMUGGLING OF CIGARETTES AND MANUFACTURING OF COUNTERFEIT PRODUCTS. ADDITIONALLY, REVENUE COLLECTIONS FROM ADMINISTRATION OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS ARE LOW ON ACCOUNT OF THE EXISTING COMPLEX EXCISE TAX SYSTEM. THE TAX REVENUES ARE A DROP IN THE OCEAN IN COMPARISON TO THE BURDEN ON THE HEALTH SECTOR (WITH ESTIMATED 8,000 TOBACCO USE RELATED DEATHS) AND LITTLE OR NO ECONOMIC BENEFIT TO THE COUNTRY DESPITE ARGUMENTS THAT THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY CONTRIBUTES HEAVILY TO LIVELIHOODS. FURTHER, ACCORDING TO WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO) TOBACCO USE UNDERMINES PROGRESS MADE IN SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND CREATES HARDSHIP FOR THE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE IN THE WORLD WHO LIVE IN POVERTY, THE MAJORITY OF WHOM ARE WOMEN.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
I AM ALSO AWARE THAT THE PEOPLE GATHERED HERE STARTED WITH A MATCH TO DEMONSTRATE THEIR COMMITMENT TOWARDS THE NEED TO ADDRESS THE INCREASE IN ABUSE OF SUBSTANCES SUCH AS TOBACCO AND MANY OTHER HARMFUL SUBSTANCES AMONG THE YOUTH.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
THE MATCH AND AEROBICS COULD NOT HAVE COME AT A BETTER TIME THAN THIS, I AM HAPPY TO SEE THAT YOUNG PEOPLE ARE THE ONES WHO ARE SPEARHEADING THIS CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE ABUSE OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS. AS A MINISTRY WE REMAIN COMMITTED TO THIS CAUSE AS YOU MIGHT HAVE HEARD, THE TOBACCO CONTROL BILL IS SCHEDULED TO BE TABLED IN CABINET AND IT IS MY SINCERE HOPE THAT IT CAN BE ENACTED INTO LAW. IF ENACTED, THE UPND ADMINSTRATION IS OPTIMISTIC IT WILL HELP IN REDUCING THE HIGH PREVALENCE OF NON COMMUNICABLE DISEASES IN ZAMBIA.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
I WISH TO CONCLUDE BY SAYING THAT I AM GRATEFUL FOR THE GESTURE OF BEING PART OF THIS CAUSE WHERE I CAN INTERACT WITH ALL THE YOUNG PEOPLE PRESENT ON MATTERS THAT AFFECT OUR DAILY LIVES AND WELL BEING.
THANK YOU TO THE ORGANIZERS.
Minister of Health MoH Ms. Sylvia Tembo-Masebo read by Dr. Kalangwa Kalangwa