SEPTEMBER 29, 2017 – KETCA convened a tobacco control coordination forum at the ACK Guest House. The forum brought together various stakeholders from both national and county governments, institutions of higher learning, the media and members of the civil society. Participants in the forum shared on to their experiences and status of tobacco control within their institutions and locality. The experience, information and knowledge sharing was taunted to be a major ingredient for effective coordination and collaboration among tobacco control stakeholders.
Tobacco industry interference was cited as one major issue that needs to be keenly looked at. Lack of political goodwill in the country proves to be a fertile ground for increased tobacco industry interference with the preexisting tobacco control laws. In the light of the expose by the BBC, Kenya among other low and middle income countries is targeted by the tobacco industry for the purpose of weakening tobacco control policies or derailing the implementation process of the laws that are in existence already. Lack of implementation and enforcement of these laws equally gives the tobacco industry leeway to violate or subvert the laws without facing consequences. This has been seen in the country in numerous occasions.
Additionally, tobacco industry is also known to interfere with tax and pricing policies in the country. According to WHO, tobacco tax and pricing measures are hailed to be the most effective instruments for tobacco control. Despite the progress the progress made the country still fall short of the WHO recommendation of up to 70%.
In order to succeed in the push for total implementation of tobacco control policies and avert tobacco industry interference there is need for a multi-sectoral approach, where all players and stakeholders are involved in the tobacco control efforts.
All stakeholders, partners and players need to be constantly involved and included for effective coordination and collaboration in tobacco control efforts in the country – Ms Catherine Adok (CTFK Sub Regional Coordinator for East Africa)
Comprehensive involvement of the media is also vital for pushing the tobacco control agenda in the country. Participants were advised to take note of the ingredients for making tobacco control newsworthy.