Zambia, Tanzania, and Cameroon have the highest tobacco industry interference, with Cameroon recording the worst performance, according to the 2023 Africa Tobacco Industry Interference Index.
The Index has revealed that Uganda, Ethiopia, and Botswana have the lowest rates of tobacco industry interference, with Botswana being the best-performing country.
This came to light during the the launch of the Index on Wednesday in a virtual event attended by tobacco control advocates, government officials, the media, and other stakeholders.
The Index was produced by the African Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA) in collaboration with the Africa Centre for Tobacco Industry Monitoring and Policy Research and the Global Centre for Good Governance in Tobacco Control (GGTC).
It measures how governments are responding to tobacco industry interference and protecting their public health policies from commercial and vested interests of the industry as required by Article 5.3 of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).
Lead author of the report, Arti Singh highlighted the seven indicators used by the index to measure the degree of tobacco industry interference notably tobacco industry participation in policy development and Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.
“Unnecessary interactions with the tobacco industry, transparency when dealing with the tobacco industry, tobacco industry conflicts of interest and preventive measures taken by governments to protect their public health policies from tobacco industry interference,” he said.
Judith Chekumo, Executive Secretary of the Cameroonian Tobacco Control Coalition, noted that Cameroon’s poor performance in the Index can be explained by the absence of a tobacco control law, despite efforts for the adoption of such a law since 2012.
“There was need for greater monitoring of the tobacco industry in public health policies, and support to update and push for the adoption of the tobacco control bill in Cameroon,” he said.
Meanwhile, Djibril Wele, Executive Secretary of the Senegalese Ligue Against Tobacco (LISTAB), noted that access to information was their biggest setback in Senegal with most civil servants having no knowledge of tobacco industry interference.
Bontle Mbongwe, Executive Director of the Anti Tobacco Network in Botswana indicated that her country’s tobacco control law had a provision protecting against tobacco industry interference.
In his closing remarks, Leonce Sessou, Executive Secretary of the African Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA) called on tobacco control actors to use the index to foster tobacco control advocacy in their respective countries.
WARNING! All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express permission from ZAMBIA MONITOR.