By Landing Ceesay
The National Focal Point for Tobacco Control Unit, Ministry of Health, Mr. Omar Badjie has said that they are facing financial constraints in their fight against public smoking.
“We want to do a series of activities but we don’t have enough funds to do that. We also want to do a joint monitoring. We want to do it quarterly, but quarterly might be too much. If we want to also do it every two months, it will need more resources and we don’t have that. If we have enough resources, our joint enforcement will be a big team. This joint enforcement is funded by donors but for the government side of it, we don’t have any funding from them. We don’t have even a single butut allocated for the Tobacco Control Act. Supposed we had some allocated funds to use, (that) will be very good,” he said.
The National Focal Point stated the effectiveness of joint enforcement in enforcing the law.
“Joint enforcement is the only tool or appropriate method to address weak enforcement, especially at the TDAs. This is why we want to go all out but unfortunately, we cannot do it because of the limited funds we are having. If we can do a joint monitoring every two weeks, that will help us address this issue. But due to financial constraints, we cannot do joint enforcement frequently. We can only do it quarterly with very few people based on the resources we have,” Mr Badjie said.
The National Focal Point for Tobacco Control, Ministry of Health Omar Badjie, made these remarks on Wednesday during a quarterly media briefing on their activities at the Central Medical Store in Kotu.
The Tobacco Control Act, 2016 was adopted in December 2016 and entered into force on December 17, 2018. Provisions on smoking in public places and tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship came into effect immediately. The Tobacco Control Regulations, 2019 contain implementing details related to health warning contents, sales restrictions, disclosure requirements, smoke-free places, and enforcement. The Regulations entered into force on October 1, 2019. Under the Notification of Commencement, picture health warnings meeting the requirements under the Tobacco Control Act, 2016 and the Tobacco Control Regulations, 2019 were originally going to be required beginning January 6, 2021. However, the implementation date was subsequently delayed to September 6, 2021.
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