Cancer problem, more efforts needed to control


THE government has realised that relentless efforts it makes to control tobacco-smoking to down size cancer spread in the country was inadequate and unsatisfactory in ending the silence killer disease.
According to study reports available, only 32 per cent of all cancers diagnosed in the country are tobacco-related and the rest are caused by different causes.
The results have made the government to admit the fact that tobacco-control efforts alone were unsatisfactory in controlling the killer disease that has affected a good number of people in the country.
It, however, vowed to work with all development partners, including multilateral agencies to support the implementation of World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control ( FCTC) in Tanzania.
Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elders and Children, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that health hazards resulting from tobacco use calls for urgent action to discourage its consumption.
Ms Mwalimu was speaking during a meeting between the Ministry of Health and development stakeholders in Tobacco control. She said a study at Ocean Road Cancer Institute and Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in 2009 indicated that 32 per cent of all cancers were tobacco-related, costing the nation more than 87bn/- ( USD 40 million) per year.
The minister further said that another study at MNH conducted in 2014 indicated that tobacco-related cardiovascular diseases costs government 296.6bn/- (USD 136 million) per year.
“These are quite high figures that call for urgent action ... this money could be spent in other important projects,” Ms Mwalimu noted.
She, however, said that the government has taken several steps to control the use of tobacco in the country including endorsing the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2007 and adopting Tobacco Regulations in 2014.
“We have not made great changes to the law governing tobacco in the country, but as government we have taken several actions towards implementing the framework, but we have not done enough ... more work need to be done to control tobacco use in the country. ,” she said.”
Expounding, she said the third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa recommended governments to increase tobacco taxes as a key strategy to reduce tobacco consumption and the global burden of non- communicable disease.
She called upon ministry of Finance to consider the recommended strategy because it will not only reduce tobacco consumption but also increase government revenue.
According to her, studies carried out in Tanzania in 2010 indicated that an annual 10 per cent real increase in tobacco taxation over five years would, among others, result into excise tax collection of between 39.9 per cent and 47.5 per cent and save between 40,358 and 63,627 lives.
“It is obvious that the 70 per cent taxation increase recommended by WHO would yield bigger results in tobacco control and government revenue,” Ms Mwalimu said. She noted that tobacco farming is one of the areas which need to be addressed effectively to fight NCDs.
“Tobacco farming and processing turns famers into de-fact smokers subjecting them to similar health hazards including non-communicable disease.” She said efforts need to be done to assist more farmers to adopt alternative livelihoods to tobacco and assist them to acquire viable markets.
Tanzania Tobacco Control Forum Executive Secretary, Lutgard MS Kagaruki, called upon the government to protect health policies against tobacco companies.
“Tobacco regulation restrict advertisement of tobacco related products, thus when a tobacco company is allowed to make donation it is an advertisement,” she noted.


Cancer problem, more efforts needed to control Cancer problem, more efforts needed to control Reviewed by on 10:31:00 PM Rating: 5

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