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Tobacco levy funds 11 anti-smoking initiatives

The Ministry of Health held a ceremony last Thursday to award tobacco levy grants to different organisations to be channelled towards tobacco control initiatives.

The Ministry had received 75 applications for the grants from different Non-Governmental Organisations and 11 were successful.

This is the first funding process of its kind for tobacco control and the successful organisations will help the government with tobacco control interventions.

Some of the interventions that have been prioritised are prevention and rehabilitation.

Speaking on behalf of the minister, Deputy Permanent Secretary Dr Tshepo Machacha said tobacco use has been scientifically proven to be one of the major risk factors of Non-Communicable Diseases.

He said WHO reports that 80% of the world’s smokers are in the low- and middle-income countries, where the burden of mortality and morbidity caused by smoking is increasingly felt, and Botswana is no exception.

“Botswana also signed and ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2003 and 2005 respectively, with a view to further strengthening control measures for tobacco use in the country.

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The 2017 Botswana Global Adult Tobacco Survey, revealed that 83.9% of current tobacco smokers planned to or were thinking of quitting.

The survey further revealed that only 7% were able to stop the use of tobacco,” said Dr Machacha

He further said a significant number of smokers must be assisted to stop the use of tobacco, hence the need to provide for Treatment and Rehabilitation.

Meanwhile the ministry is planning to make the fund accessible to other institutions in the next funding cycle, so that they may have more players in tobacco control.

Dr Machacha said he was convinced that the awarded organisations will work well with the Ministry of Health to reduce the demand of tobacco and tobacco products and assist smokers to stop the use of tobacco.

The Chairperson of the Tobacco Levy Grants Committee ,Ofentse Boitshepo advised the grants recipients to use the money wisely.

Tobacco levy funds 11 anti-smoking initiatives

THANKFUL: Boitshepo

She said the committee will be monitoring how the money is spent and the recipients are expected to submit reports.

Boitshepo said they want tobacco free Botswana and therefore government was counting on them to promote public awareness on tobacco use and how it can be curbed.

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