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Health ministry developing tobacco law enforcement plan

By Pascal Kwesiga

Added 13th November 2019 12:39 PM

The health ministry officials said lung cancer which is caused by smoking remains one of the major health problems in the country.

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The health ministry officials said lung cancer which is caused by smoking remains one of the major health problems in the country.

 
The health ministry has said that it’s developing an implementation plan for the Tobacco Control Act 2015. The law came into force over three years ago, but it remains largely unimplemented.
 
The health ministry officials said lung cancer which is caused by smoking remains one of the major health problems in the country. The disease can be also contracted through passive smoking.
 
“We would like to encourage people to stop smoking and drinking alcohol. There is no safe drinking of alcohol or smoking. People should avoid smoking and drinking alcohol to keep cancers away,” Dr. Gerald Mutungi, the commissioner for non-communicable diseases, said.
 
The law banned smoking in public and workplaces. But public smoking continues unabated. “But something has been done to implement the law. We have banned Shisha and we are developing an implementation plan for the law,” Mutungi added.
 
Statistics from the cancer institute indicate that new (cancer) cases are estimated at over 32,000 annually. But only about 6,000 are reported at the cancer institute.
 
The institute’s deputy executive director, Dr. Victoria Walusansa, said the statistics are indicative of the growing cancer burden.
 
“That means there are many cancer cases in the community and only a few of them get reported to the only cancer institute in the country. There are not many people coming for free cancer screening at the only institute because it’s far from many communities,” she noted.
 
The statistics show that most patients seek treatment at the institute when cancer has advanced to either the third or fourth stage. This affects treatment options and outcomes.
 
The most common cancers, the statistics show, including cervical, Kaposi sarcoma (high in people with HIV), breast and prostate. Two of the commonest cancers – cervical and breast – affect women. However, breast cancer can occur in men and the human papillomavirus which causes cervical cancer in women can also result in cancer of the penis in men, according to experts. 
 
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