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Tobacco! The only legal product that maims and kills - WHO Public Health Specialist PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jonathan Abass Kamara   
Wednesday, 08 February 2017 12:05

The magnitude of tobacco epidemic is a big public health concern at global, regional and national levels.

It is the single preventable cause of death in the world today and kills around six million people each year. More than five million of these deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while more than 600,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. It is said that tobacco is one of the greatest emerging health disasters in human history, and that by 2030, 70 percent of all deaths from tobacco will occur in developing countries.

Making his presentation at a one day stakeholders meeting on tobacco at the Makama Hotel in Makeni on Friday February 3, 2017, the WHO African Region Office (AFRO) Public Health Specialist, Dr. Mohamed OuldSidi described tobacco as the only legal product that maims and kills.

Tobacco, Dr. Sidi went on, is an economic burdened on the grower who remains poor, and the manufacturer gets rich. Consumers he said die slowly with serious health consequences ranging from cardiovascular disease: hypertension, heart attack, stroke, chronic respiratory diseases, breathing diseases resulting to lung cancer, other diseases of cancer on the breast, mouth, and other deadly diseases.

Dr. Sidi called on civil society to engage key stakeholders and advocate for high political commitment in the fight on tobacco control in Sierra Leone.

In his presentation on the case for Sierra Leone’s position in its National Tobacco Control Legislation, Manager Health Education Division, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Mr. Lansana Conteh, said the incidence of smoking in Sierra Leone according to the 2015 Census is 9.1 percent, with the speculation of a long term serious economic and health consequences.

Tobacco, Mr. Conteh reiterated is not good for a tiny country like Sierra Leone, pointing out that it is the only legal consumer product that has the potential to harm everyone exposed to it, and kills half of those who use it as intended. Most of the health damages caused by tobacco, the Health Education Manager said does not become evidence until years after the onset of use.

Mr. Conteh described the tobacco epidemic as devastating but preventable. This he said outlines why it is an unacceptable product for an ailing economy.

Dilating on the progress made by the Sierra Leone government towards achieving the MDGs and now the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Mr. Conteh said Sierra Leoneans and those living in the country must not allow what he referred to as a man-made problem to derail the effort made in addressing pressing health problems. The fight against tobacco he went on must be engaged quickly with its utmost urgency than battle against life threatening infectious diseases.

“We can halt the tobacco epidemic and move towards a tobacco free nation”, Mr. Conteh assured the Sierra Leone population.

Other highlights include statements from the Director, Non-Communicable Disease and Mental Health, Dr. AlieWurie, WHO Focal Point and Communication Officer, Mrs. AminataKobi, presentation of group work and the Road Map for Action on Multi Sectoral approach, privatization, communication and coordination, expand partnership, fight against illicit trade on tobacco,  and Ministry of Health and Sanitation integration of its National Strategic at all level in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

Stakeholders’ consensus for the appointment of a multi-sectoral committee for action on tobacco control formed high point at the end of the meeting.

 

Editorial

2016 Global Peace Conference to be held in Freetown---as IPRA 50th Birthday confab ends in Istanbul

 

The 26th biennal conference of the Internatonal Peace Research Association (IPRA) is billed to take place in  Freetown, Sierra Leone in November 2016, marking the second time Africa has hosted the conference since the founding of IPRA in 1964. This was announced following the re-election of  the two IPRA Secretaries-general, Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw (pictured) and Dr Nesrin Kenar, who co-ordinated the 25th  IPRA conference in Turkey,  at the organisation’s administrative meeting on August 14 during the 25th  IPRA  conference in Istanbul  to serve a second term of two years.

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Business News

Four illegal fishing cases found in Sierra Leone in four days

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, April 20, 2017/ -- Four illegal fishing cases have been found during a joint surveillance mission conducted by Greenpeace (www.Greenpeace.org/Africa/en) and Sierra Leone fishery authorities. Two Chinese vessels and one Korean vessel have been arrested for infringements of Sierra Leone fishing legislation, including possessing or using illegal fishing nets on board, no visible marking and a lack of required paperwork, including log books and authorisation for unloading catch. Fishing authorities ordered the vessels to return to Freetown port for further investigation. A fourth vessel, owned by an Italian company, was found with four kilograms of shark fins on board. Though not illegal under Sierra Leonean laws, this is a clear violation of European Union (EU) fishing rules. This boat’s case will be taken further with relevant EU authorities.

In addition, more than 70 bags of shark carcasses were found on one of the Chinese vessels.

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Media News

Press Freedom under Siege in West Africa: 30 Media Workers Arrested in 38 Days

The 30 victims, made up of 15 journalists and 15 media technicians, were arrested, detained and/or assaulted in 10 separate incidents in four countries namely Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Togo. Nigeria recorded six incidents, Cote d’Ivoire recorded two incidents while Guinea and Togo recorded an incident each.

In Nigeria, seven journalists were arrested and detained during the period. In Cote d’Ivoire, six journalists were arrested and detained in a single incident while one journalist each was affected in Guinea and Togo, bringing the total number of journalists affected to 15. In respect of the other media workers, nine staff of a newspaper printing firm were arrested in single incident. In Cote d’Ivoire, six technicians working with the state-owned television station were also arrested in a single incident.

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Commentary

A NEW DAWN FOR JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN SIERRA LEONE, PARLIAMENT APPROVES MELRON NICOL-WILSON AS NEW OMBUDSMAN

The Parliament of the Republic of Sierra Leone has overwhelmingly approved the appointment of Mr Melron Nicol-Wilson as new Ombudsman, on Tuesday April 11, 2017. This follows him being named by H.E President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma as the replacement to Justice Edmond Cowan - a long-standing legal icon, who now chairs the Sierra Leone Constitutional Review Committee.

A man whose action speaks louder than words, Mr Nicol-Wilson has been appointed as new Ombudsman for Sierra Leone, a position reserved for high-profile people, who are well-respected and with unblemished character. Mr Nicol-Wilson has the typical pedigree of an Ombudsman, best known both in Sierra Leone and internationally as a champion for justice and human rights.  

The Parliament’s decision to approve Mr Nicol-Wilson was anticipated, as the high-profile human rights lawyer emerged unscathed from an exchange of views with Members of Parliament.

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View Point

ELECTION IS A TESTIMONY TO PEOPLE’S SOVEREIGNTY

(The thoughts expressed in this article are purely and entirely the thoughts of the author)

Election in any democratic setting, include the enjoyment of those rights that will elicit the full participation of individuals in determining the political life of his/her country. An election is a decision making process through which eligible citizens(those who have reached the age of majority, 18 years and above and with sound mind) freely choose their leaders through the ballot box to hold public offices for a specified term.

Generally, people vote with the expectation that the office holders would represent their communitiesand or countries best interest.  Elections are viewed as a central feature of the rule of law, human rights, and democracy. Essentially, election is a testimony to peoples’ sovereignty and that ought to be respected and the process must be credible, otherwise there will be challenge with regards the acceptance of the result.

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News - Press Release

Police reject security for Alternative Peoples Independence Procession and Rally

April 24th 2017: On the occasion of the 56th anniversary of Sierra Leone’s independence, Movement for Social Progress (MSP) had requested the Sierra Leone Police to provide the necessary security for a peaceful Alternative Peoples Independence Procession and Rally that was planned to coincide with the official celebrations. The procession was planned to start from Clock Tower to Brima Atouga Stadium in the East end of the city while the official events are scheduled to take place in the West end of the city.

In a meeting with senior members of the Sierra Leone Police at the SLP headquarters, on Monday 24th April attended by the Inspector General, Francis Munu, the Head of Police Operations, Assistant Inspector General (AIG) Al-Sheikh Kamara, AIG Memuna Konteh Jalloh, AIG FUK Dabor, among others, the police top brass told members of MSP that they would not be able to provide security for the procession and rally.

The Inspector General of Police, Francis Munu, informed the meeting that they were overstretched with covering the official events, the traditional masquerade (or Odele) parade as well as the Lantern Parade on the eve of Independence.

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Society -Local News

Malaria continues to threaten more than half of the world’s population - Deputy Health Minister

Sierra Leone has joined other countries in the world to commemorated World Malaria Day on the theme: “End Malaria For Good” with the slogan: “Sleep under a Mosquito net always” on Tuesday April 25, 2017 at the St. Anthony Parish hall Brookfields in Freetown.

Launching the World Malaria Day 2017, the Sierra Leone Malaria Indicator Survey 2016 Report and the Sierra Leone Malaria Business Plan 2016 -2018, the Deputy Health and Sanitation  Minister 1, Madam Madina Rahman said malaria continues to threaten more than half of the world’s population and presents an alarming threat to global development.

She informed her audience that as of 2016, an estimated 3.2 billion people, almost half of the world’s population in 97 countries and territories including Sierra Leone are at risk of being infected with malaria.

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Development

LAB wants transports to allocate seats to the blind

The Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles has disclosed plans to launch a White Cane Campaign in the coming weeks.

Ms. Carlton-Hanciles made the disclosure while addressing a cross section of the Waterloo Community including stakeholders at the District Council Hall on Monday, 24 April 2017 in a meeting to plan the launch of the Legal Aid Board in Waterloo in the WesternArea Rural District on 6 May 2017.

She noted that the campaign will seek to address the challenges faced by blind people in using public transport. ‘Blind people have been suffering in silence for far too long,’ she said. ‘They have been discriminated against because of their disability and this cannot be tolerated.’

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Politics

SAM SUMANA TRAVELS TO GHANA ON "EMERGENCY TRAVEL CERTIFICATE"
Former elected Vice President Samuel Sam Sumana left Freetown International Airport, Lungi late afternoon Wednesday April 19, 2017 onboard Kenya Airways on an "Emergency Travel Certificate",  en route to Abuja, Nigeria on or about April 23/24, 2017 for the hearing of his petition filed on October 24, 2016 in the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, "seeking an enforcement of his fundamental Human Rights arising from his unconstitutional removal from office, and for further orders contained in the application."
 
"This matter has been set down for hearing by the Court for April 26, 2017."
 
According to a spokesman for the Sam Sumana family Matthias Bendu who was with Sam Sumana at the airport until the aircraft was airborne because of advanced information reaching the family that there would be some problem awaiting Sam Sumana at the airport, Matthias Bendu told this Writer on the cellphone from the airport that Sam Sumana "was detained by Immigration Officers at the airport for more than thirty minutes  after the aircraft  landed, and it was due to the intervention of the Inspector General of Police Francis Munu who told the immigration Officers that Sam Sumana had not committed any crime and must be allowed to travel".
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