South African Medical Association And World Medical Association Seek Partners For Tobacco Control

The establishing of a Tobacco Control Resource Centre for Southern Africa by 31 May next year was set as a top priority at an exploratory meeting of the South African Medical Association, the Democratic Nursing Association of SA (DENOSA), the Tobacco Action Group (TAG) and the World Medical Association in Pretoria yesterday (27 October).

Conceptually, the Resource Centre will promote knowledge and improve the skills of health personnel in helping people stop smoking through the sharing of information by worldwide networking, and support to national medical associations. A similar Resource Centre for the European Forum of Medical Associations has been established in London, while another is planned for Asia.

Yesterday's meeting follows on the commitment given by the SA Medical Association and World Medical Association in June to embark on an initiative with other stakeholders to combat smoking addiction as a major health threat to the world.

Dr Delon Human, chief executive of the WMA said he was most impressed by the commitment and work done by South African health professionals and organisations in trying to reduce tobacco use.

'However, like elsewhere in the world, resources for -tobacco control campaigns - financial and human - fall far short of what is spent on promoting tobacco products globally, namely $1 billion against $400 billion.'

He said the WMA's objectives in promoting the establishing of Tobacco Control Resource Centres throughout the world was to strengthen efforts through globalisation, generating and sharing information, customisation of projects, promoting best practices, and joint political action.

Dr Tony Mbewu chairperson of the Medical Association's Science and Education Committee, thanked DENOSA and TAG for their enthusiasm, and stressed that the success of the initiative depended on involvement of all health professionals and interest groups. The first step was therefore to invite them to be part of a working group that will convene early in January to consider strategy and action plans.

Editorial contacts:

  • Dr Delon Human, chief executive, World Medical Association. Cell No 0933 607 16 4177

  • Dr Tony Mbewu, chairperson, Science and Education Committee, SA Medical Association. Tel No 021 9380319

  • Dr Yussuf Saloojee, executive director, Tobacco Action Group. Tel No 011 6432958.

  • Ms Neloise Geyer, deputy director, professional matters, Democratic Nursing Association of SA. Tel No 012 3432315

  • Nigel Duncan, Public Relations Consultant. Tel: UK (44) 171 383 6113

Released On Behalf Of

World Medical Association
The South African Medical Association
The Democratic Nursing Association of SA
The Tobacco Action Group

By Marileen Van Wyk, South African Medical Association. Tel No 012 481 2041