Africa urged to meet smoking cessation needs

The president of the Senegalese League for the fight against tobacco (Listab), Amadou Moustapha Gaye, on Thursday in Dakar, called…

The president of the Senegalese League for the fight against tobacco (Listab), Amadou Moustapha Gaye, on Thursday in Dakar, called for effective smoking cessation policies.On the African continent, smoking cessation needs are still not met. 

To reverse the trend, African countries must improve their public policies in this area.

“The policies and possibilities of smoking cessation must be improved (…) particularly in Africa,” said the president of Listab, Amadou Moustapha Gaye.

He took part in a panel marking the celebration on May 31 of World No Tobacco Day, but whose activities have been postponed in Senegal. 

This year, the World Health Organization (WHO) has chosen the theme: “Commit to Quit.”

Mr. Gaye said “of all the demand reduction measures proposed in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, cessation policies remain the least enforced.” 

That was enough for the world health body to ask public authorities to become aware of this unmet need and to act accordingly, as part of a comprehensive tobacco control strategy.

“Cost-effective population-based smoking cessation interventions must be a priority for countries. We need to encourage innovation and take full advantage of mobile technologies to better connect with large and hard-to-reach populations,” the President of Listab added.

He pointed out that out of 1.4 billion smokers worldwide, 780 million say they want to quit, but only 30 percent have access to tools that can help them overcome their physical and mental addiction to tobacco.

For the specific case of Senegal, Dr. Mame Mbayang Dione of the National Tobacco Control Program (PNLT) revealed the lack of drugs that can help with smoking cessation. 

“For the availability of these products, we are fighting for the National Supply Pharmacy (PNA) to include them on the list of essential drugs. In Senegal, only a few pharmacies have these drugs, which means that their price is not accessible to everyone,” Dr. Mame Mbayang Dione concluded.

For his part, Dr. Fatoumata Bintou Rassoul Mbaye Gueye of the pneumology department of Fann University Hospital invited his medical colleagues to specialize more in tobacco addiction, deploring the fact that Senegal has only five tobacco specialists..

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