The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

Profile - Dr Mohamed Sidi – Honorary President, Africa Against Tobacco

Sidi 150pxACONTA's Dr Mohamed SidiDuring Dr Mohamed Sidi’s 11 years working with Africa Against Tobacco (ACONTA) he’s come to believe that within 10 years countries in his region will have full control over tobacco, thanks to the help of governments and tobacco control experts.

However, Dr Sidi sees lack of funding and human resources as potential obstacles to the realisation of that scenario.

Based in Burkina Faso, Dr Sidi has worked for ACONTA since 2001. Along with Burkina Faso, ACONTA also works in Guinea, Mali and the Ivory Coast, aiming to contribute to public health by fighting against tobacco.

Read on to find out more.

IN TERMS OF THE FCTC, WHAT IS ACONTA WORKING ON?

Besides tobacco control advocacy, ACONTA researches the activities of the tobacco industry to analyse their strategies.

We also implement, follow up on and assess tobacco control projects to help prevent tobacco addiction and to help people quit smoking.

We also provide technical support to others who are setting up strategic plans, programmes and services to help with the struggle against tobacco. This includes integrating tobacco control into regional and operational plans.

WHAT ARE THE GREATEST CHALLENGES ACONTA FACES DOING THIS WORK?

The main challenges we face are coming up with good strategies to counter the tobacco industry, which is an insidious force in the region.

We also face challenges in trying to achieve the following:
•    monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies;
•    protecting people from tobacco smoke;
•    offering help to quit tobacco use;
•    warning about the dangers of tobacco;
•    enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and
•    getting tobacco tax increases.

WHAT SUCCESS HAS ACONTA  HAD IN RELATION TO THIS WORK?

We have some success stories in Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast, where the government has ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). This was a long battle but we managed to achieve victory thanks to support from the FCA, Africa Tobacco Control Resource Center and The Union.

We have also seen Guinea adopt a tobacco control law.

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO IMPLEMENT THE FCTC IN YOUR COUNTRY AND WHY?

It’s incredibly important because it’s vital that we protect people against tobacco.

We need to do this by supporting governments’ efforts to provide national frameworks to fight tobacco.

WHAT DO YOU THINK NEEDS TO BE DONE ON A GLOBAL SCALE TO HELP FIGHT THE TOBACCO EPIDEMIC?

Tobacco kills six million people per year, and it will kill 10 million people by 2030. Because of these alarming statistics, governments worldwide need to be constantly aware of this “plague”.

Tobacco control is not just local; it really is a worldwide issue that works with support from the WHO, civil society, partners and donors.

We need to develop coherent public health strategies to reduce tobacco consumption that not only work locally but also regionally and nationally.

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