By Andrew Ssenyonga
The Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have given thumbs up to the government and the parliament for the passage of the Tobacco Control Bill 2014 saying it will protect non-smokers from exposure to passive smoking.
Center for Tobacco Control in Africa (CTCA) centre manager Dr. Possy Mugyenyi said controlling tobacco sale and use will go a long way to improve the health, social and economic welfare of Ugandans.
"we congratulate the government, ministry of health, the movers and seconders of the Bill, health committee of parliament, all MPs, fellow tobacco control advocates and Ugandans at large upon this huge step that we have taken as a country," Dr. Mugyenyi said.
Parliament on Tuesday passed a landmark Tobacco Control Bill 2014, spelling out stringent measures aimed at protecting non- smokers from health, social, economic and environmental consequences of tobacco and exposure.
The Manager Centre for Tobacco Control Africa, Possy Mugyenyi (left) and the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of the Uganda National Health Consumers' Organisation in Kampala on July 29, 2015. They commended Parliament for passing the Tobacco Control Bill (pictured) and asked the President to assent it for the good of Ugandans. Photo/Abou Kisige
A coalition of CSOs including Uganda National Health Users/ Consumers Organisation (UNHCO), CTCA and Uganda Health Communication Alliance (UHCA) also commended the president and MPs for their continued support throughout process.
"Throughout the debate of the Bill, parliamentarians exhibited high level of patriotism and commitment to the health of Ugandans, we applaud you," Dr. Mugyenyi noted.
Dr. Sheila Ndyanabangyi, the National Tobacco Control Focal person urged President to quickly assent to the Bill and ensure the law is enforced to save millions from the dangers of active and passive smoking.
The CSOs made pronouncement during a press conference organised at the UNHCO head office Bukoto a Kampala suburb on Wednesday.
Dr. Ndyanabangyi observed the absence of the law on Tobacco Control had escalated death of a number of Ugandans due tobacco-related diseases.
"Evidence from a general observation of health workers in government hospitals, shows that a significant number of patients diagnosed with respiratory diseases all attributed to tobacco use," She said.
Dr. Ndyanabangyi said, "on that note, we appeal to President to support the will of parliament and the people of Uganda and assent to this Bill in order save the lives of the current and future generations from devastating effects of tobacco."
She also appealed to members of the public to support the enforcement of the bill.
Moses Mukulu, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at UNHCO, said had developed comprehensive multi-sectoral measures and responses to reduce consumption of tobacco and to discourage uptake of all tobacco products to implement the campaign.
He said this would include; creating awareness about tobacco and its effect, discouraging the uptake and use of tobacco among adolescents and early adults, disseminating the effects of tobacco on pregnancy and the health of mothers, protecting the non-smokers and advocating for an enabling environment conducive to change.