15 Jan 2010
Tobacco is a serious cause of death in West Africa’s Togo, and if nothing is done about this by 2030 it will kill more than 20 per cent of the country’s population, says executive director of Alliance Nationale des Consommateurs et de l’Environnement (ANCE-Togo) Ebeh Adayade Kodjo.
“The current situation is alarming,” he says. “We would like to invite donors to support us to change the situation, change lives and promote the sustainable development of Togo.”
The need for resources
Ebeh’s call for donors reflects one of ANCE-Togo’s biggest challenges – finances.
“Along with the tobacco industry’s interferences, the lack of financial resources pose a great challenge to do our work successfully,” he said. “We need appropriate financial and technical resources to lobby for the implementation and enforcement of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in Togo.”
Ebeh said the Framework Convention Alliance’s (FCA) financial support has helped a lot. He said that in April 2008 the Togolese government tried to adopt a draft tobacco bill that did not integrate FCTC standards.
“With an FCA financial grant ANCE-Togo successfully stopped the adoption of this draft bill,” he said.
With further financial assistance from the Campaign for Tobacco Free-Kids, ANCE-Togo raised the draft bill to meet FCTC requirements and is trying to get it adopted by the national Assembly before December, 2009.
What does ANCE-Togo do?
ANCE-Togo (website in French), which in English stands for National Consumers’ and Environmental Alliance, works to ensure that development plans take into consideration human health, safety and environmental protection in this West African country.
To do this ANCE-Togo works on the FCTC in the following areas:
- Raising awareness by organising media campaigns to promote the FCTC.
- Building capacity for tobacco control stakeholders on FCTC and its guidelines.
- Carrying out research that is used for lobbying and advocacy work.
- Developing policies with government to ensure FCTC standards are integrated into Togo’s law.
Despite ANCE-Togo’s challenges the organization has enjoyed many successes.
The organization’s successes
According to Ebeh, before ANCE-Togo nobody knew about the FCTC in Togo.
“However, thanks to the organization’s media campaigns at least 55 per cent of the Togolese population are aware of the treaty and its adopted guidelines,” he said.
Ebeh says that the main tobacco control stakeholders in Togo have also been trained on the FCTC and its guidelines. “Which is very important to allow FCTC implementation,’ he said.