New South African Medical Association Joins Forces With World Medical Association In Combating The Smoking Habit

The new South African Medical Association has embarked on a joint initiative with the World Medical Association (WMA) to combat the smoking habit as a major health threat to the world.

This has been announced at the conclusion of the first national council meeting of the newly established South African Medical Association in Pretoria.

Elaborating on their project plans, Dr Edoo Barker vice-chairman of the South African Medical Association, said the first step was to host a consensus meeting of health professionals from Southern Africa before the end of the year.

The main agenda for this meeting would be to agree on action plans and to review the appropriateness of a draft regional guideline as a training and practice standard.

Dr Barker said that significant work had been done by the Medical Association, in partnership with the Department of Health, the Tobacco Action Group and the Medical Research Council, but for the project to succeed we need to develop a regional consensus guideline.

Dr Anders Milton, chairman of the World Medical Association said that the WMA had learnt about the commitment and excellent work being done by the Ministry and the health care professions in South Africa. Consequently the WMA had decided to support and facilitate these efforts.

We should build on the South African experience to combat tobacco use in Africa. The WMA is establishing resource centres to provide doctors and healthcare workers with the necessary information and training to educate their patients on the dangers of tobacco products. South Africa seems to be the ideal base for such regional networking.

"Tobacco is a killer. The smoking habit is one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality estimated to kill as many as 4 million people this year, and 10 million people by the year 2030. Doctors should take the lead in combating tobacco," Dr Milton concluded.