A three-pillar national tobacco control action plan has been unveiled. It will focus on enforcement of the tobacco law, establishment of a network of stakeholders and integration of cessation program in the national health care system.
Francois Habiyaremye, the national focal person on tobacco control, presented Rwanda’s action plan during a three-day workshop on Policy Coordination for Tobacco Control in Africa on Friday.
It was agreed during the meeting that each country comes up with a national action plan on tobacco.
Habiyaremye said that the country will focus on “implementation and enforcement of tobacco control law in order to operationalize the tobacco control law to provide every Rwandan with the enjoyment of the highest smoke-free environment.”
According to Dr Marie Aimee Muhimpundu, the head of non-communicable disease at the Rwanda Biomedical Center, the country will establish a national stakeholder’s network for tobacco control activities with a goal of eliminating tobacco-related deaths and disease.
“This will be done by advocating for and supporting the effective implementation of tobacco regulations,” Muhimpundu said.
She said that the government plans to integrate cessation (quit smoking) program in the existing health care system. The goal is to provide assistance to smokers to quit tobacco by strengthening capacity in counseling tobacco patients at referral and district health facilities.
Participants included focal point persons for tobacco control in the ministries of Health and WHO country offices, representatives of NGO’s in the fight against tobacco from 25 African countries.