13 May 2014
The training, 6-8 May, was organised by the Madagascar ministry of health, funded by the Africa Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA) and co-facilitated by experts from FCA, The Union and ViSa, a Mauritius-based tobacco control civil society organization.
The event’s aims were to enhance participants’ capacities on key elements of implementing the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), and to stimulate a discussion about creating a civil society network, said Dr. Jacques Andrianomenjanaharinirina, Madagascar’s FCTC Focal Point.
Madagascar will soon start drafting a comprehensive, FCTC-compliant tobacco control bill, the Focal Point added in his opening statement to the 35 participants, who hailed from government ministries, civil society, religious bodies, media and the municipality of Antananarivo.
According to Dr. Patrick Musavuli, ATCA’s Technical Assistance Manager: “this is a single opportunity for Madagascar to lay the foundation for a committed and knowledgeable civil society that could resist any attempt by the tobacco industry to thwart existing and upcoming tobacco control policies in Madagascar”.
The agenda included discussion of key elements of an FCTC-compliant law, including:
- Article 5.3 – protecting tobacco control policies from the commercial interests of the tobacco industry;
- Art.6 – price and tax measures to reduce the demand for tobacco;
- Art. 8 – protection from exposure to tobacco smoke;
- Art. 11 – on packaging and labelling of tobacco products, and
- Art. 13 – tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.
“The group work helped me to deepen my knowledge on different FCTC provisions and also helped me to get closer to other participants,” said workshop participant Haina Rakotoaritsifa, who belongs to a civil society organization called Life Giving Water. “Knowing each other is key to winning the fight against the tobacco industry,” she added.
Madagascar recently became one of the few African countries to use pictorial health warnings on cigarette packages to warn citizens on the dangers of tobacco use.