Minister of Health, Dr. Fenton Ferguson is in Geneva, Switzerland as a special guest at the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) scheduled for February 27, 2015.
The WHO has indicated that this marks a milestone of a decade of action to curb the global tobacco epidemic and promote public health. The Convention is the first international treaty negotiated under the WHO’s auspices, and has become one of the fastest endorsed by the United Nations to date, with 180 Parties, covering 90% of the world’s population.
The Minister’s travel and all associated expenses for this meeting as well as the just concluded Global Fund Expert Panel of the Equitable Access Initiative meeting were sponsored by the Convention Secretariat of the WHO FCTC as Jamaica is the only country representing the Caribbean Region for the WHO FCTC 10th anniversary meeting.
The meeting will be looking at some of the key achievements of the 10 years of implementation of the WHO FCTC as well as some of the experiences of the Parties in terms of implementing aspects of the Treaty at the country level.
According to the WHO full implementation of the WHO FCTC would support global commitments to achieving a 25% reduction in premature deaths from non-communicable diseases by 2025, including a 30% reduction in the prevalence of tobacco use in persons aged 15 years and over.
In Jamaica over 70 percent of deaths are attributed to non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and related complications.
Dr. Ferguson will be speaking to the important role of leadership in tobacco control and advancing the FCTC implementation in a session that will involve other countries including Spain, Australia, Brazil, China, Egypt, Gabon, India, Norway, Russia, Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
In view of the gaps identified from the joint needs assessment undertaken by the Ministry of Health and the Convention Secretariat of the WHO FCTC in collaboration with PAHO/WHO in August 2014, Jamaica received funding to the tune of US$29,000 to assist in further implementation of the Treaty as well as public education.
Jamaica implemented the Public Health (Tobacco Control) Regulations, 2013 on July 15, 2013. The Regulations got an over 80 percent approval rating by members of the public. Among the clauses within the Regulations is the prohibition of smoking in public places.