Cameroon - The Solidarity Chemotherapy Association (SOCHIMIO) will organize a session of information and education on childhood cancer in its Centre for Counselling, Information and Education (CEIEC) in Yaoundé. It also hopes to organize a TV ...
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"The blog of Jackie Tumwine" - 5 new articles

  1. Planned World Cancer Day activities in Africa
  2. Rendez-vous with Jackie Tumwine
  3. About GLOBALink Africa
  4. 1st African Conference on Tobacco or Health- lessons and resolutions
  5. University Scholarships latest in BAT Rwanda CSR stunt
  6. More Recent Articles

Planned World Cancer Day activities in Africa

- The Solidarity Chemotherapy Association (SOCHIMIO) will organize a session of information and education on childhood cancer in its Centre for Counselling, Information and Education (CEIEC) in Yaoundé. It also hopes to organize a TV roundtable on the management of cancers in Cameroon.

- National Cancer Institute (NCI) activities for World Cancer Day include; a screening of the final video about its My Child Matters project at NCI and other participating centres; a news conference to spread the message and a handout in Arabic including data and results from the project, to be delivered to health-care professionals.

- World Cancer Day activities organized by the Association Lalla Salma de lutte contre le cancer (anti-cancer association), in cooperation with L'Avenir, Rabat and the Hôpital de 20 août and Agir, Casablanca.

-Activities planned for World Cancer Day by the Federal Ministry of Health include; 31 January: a press briefing by the federal ministers of health, women affairs, information and environment; a poster campaign to create awareness about healthy living ; 2-4 February: Information briefs to be read at worship in mosques and churches ; 3 February: a TV talk show to educate the public about preventing cancer and recognizing early signs and symptoms and 6 February: a grand rally in Abuja, with about 500 participants, including schoolchildren and mothers. T-shirts and Fez caps with this year's campaign theme will be distributed.

-The Princess Nikky Breast Cancer Foundation has planned the following activities for World Cancer Day: 1 February: a courtesy call on President Obasanjo, and the opening of the Princess Nikky Cancer Resource Centre; 2 February: A roundtable conference on women and children cancers, hosted by the Ministry of Women Affairs ;3 February: Comedy for life, to focus attention on cancer and 4 February: a rally against cancer, with President Obasanjo as the guest of honour

-The Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN) will mark World Cancer Day for the first time this year, with lectures, rallies and radio and TV interactive programmes.

-The paediatric service in the Hôpital le Dantec is organizing activities for World Cancer Day within the framework of the national cancer plan and in partnership with Prof Jean-Marie Dangou, who is in charge of cancer control in the Ministry of Health and Medical Prevention.

South Africa
- National and community events around the country organized by the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) include; A national event at Anandale School, Rabie Ridge, Midrand, Gauteng on 2 February (community event, marionette/puppet shows, entertainment, screenings, educational talks and displays); Relay For Life on 3-4 February in Oudtshoorn, Western Cape (community overnight event including cancer survivors walk, luminaria ceremony, stalls and talks); Prayer services on 4 February for those living with cancer and those lost to the disease and their relatives and friends; Community talks and displays at schools and workplaces and visits to cancer patients in health centres.

-The Medical Research Council is working with the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) and the departments of education and health on four colourful and action-packed events in relation to World Cancer Day; on 2 and 4 February, the Council will stage two events in Patricia Noah Junior Secondary School, Centane; on 9 and 10 February, it will hold a second pair of meetings in Ntukai Senior Secondary School, Bizana.

-The Ocean Road Cancer Institute will organize a charity walk to raise funds for the treatment of children with cancer, with Tanzania's First Lady, Anna Mkapa, as the guest of honour. The 5 km walk will start from Kempinski Hotel in downtown Dar es Salaam and finish at the Institute.

Cancer awareness materials will appear in the Kiswahili and English-language papers on 4 February. The Institute will also issue a press release and distribute press kits.

St Jude Medical Minute, the 60-second national radio spot, will feature St Jude's CEO, Dr William Evans, and Dr Les Robison, discussing prevention and childhood cancer in connection with World Cancer Day.


Rendez-vous with Jackie Tumwine

Tumwine Thank you Jackie for taking the time to be with us.
May I ask you to introduce yourself by telling us a little about your personal background (education, professional experience) and when, how and why you got involved in tobacco control?

Jackie Tumwine:
My name is Jackie Tumwine, I am a Ugandan lawyer with a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB) from Makerere University and a Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. I have recently earned a Diplôme de Langue Française (DL) from Alliance Française.

My LLB dissertation entitled- ‘The Child’s Right to a Smoke-Free Environment’ jump started my interest in tobacco control. My research analysed how tobacco violates children’s rights. Soon after completing my dissertation I was fortunate to participate in a FCTC capacity building workshop in Jinja, Uganda in 2004, organized by the Framework Convention Alliance. There I met an amazing group of dedicated tobacco control advocates from Africa, all working hard to fight tobacco’s toll on people’s lives and they were making a difference. In short, I was inspired and chose to take action. Shortly after, I founded the Health and Environmental Rights Organization (HERO-Uganda) and I have been its Executive Director since. HERO-Uganda is active in tobacco control in Uganda, particularly in the area of advocacy for ratification of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and enforcement of our smoke-free law. HERO’s aim is to protect the right to health and the right to a clean and healthy environment through research, advocacy and sensitization.

Q1. Can you tell us about the situation of tobacco in Uganda and what you think the priorities are now for tobacco control? What are the main challenges for tobacco control in your country?

Jackie Tumwine: The 2000-2001 Uganda Demographic and Health survey stated adult smoking prevalence in Uganda to be 14.3%, with male smoking rates at 25.2% and 3.3% for females. According to the 2003 Global Youth Tobacco Survey, youth smoking rates were as high as 33.1% (male 38.2%, female 21.7%) in Arua, a major tobacco growing district in Uganda.

British American Tobacco (BATU) is the main tobacco company and has been in Uganda since the 1920’s. Tobacco is widely grown in 14 districts and just last year BAT announced its plans to make Uganda a ‘centre of excellence’ for tobacco leaf growing in East Africa’. What BAT declined to mention is that BAT will in effect make Uganda a centre of massive deforestation and a centre of discontented farmers impoverished by BATU’s infamous loan schemes.  

Although a 2004 public smoke ban exists, Uganda lacks a comprehensive tobacco control law- one that offers the best protection to the most people, covering a wide range of tobacco control issues like health warnings, labeling and packaging, taxation and prices, sales and distribution, advertising, sponsorship and promotion, anti smuggling and so on. Uganda also needs to ratify the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) which it signed in 2004. One major challenge is the aggressive political and economic influence of BAT which waters down the political will.

Right now the priorities for tobacco control in Uganda are the ratification of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the effective enforcement of the existing smoke-free law, and the regular and substantial increases in cigarette taxes.

Q2. One requirement for the Framework Convention is to upgrade the heatlh warnings on the packs. Can you tell us what the situation is in Uganda?


Jackie Tumwine: Currently, the health warnings on cigarette packs in Uganda are microscopic and weak. ‘Cigarette smoking can be harmful to your health’ is written in both English and Kiswahili on the side of the packs. Unfortunately the high illiteracy levels in the country mean that the warnings go unheeded and many smokers remain unaware of how seriously dangerous and deadly smoking is to their health and the health of those around them. Uganda should adopt the effective large, graphic health warnings found on Canadian and Brazilian cigarette packs

Q3. Philip Morris is building a new factory in Senegal, advertising and promotion seem hight everywhere in Africa. How do you assess the influence and activity of the tobacco industry in Uganda?

Jackie Tumwine: In Uganda British American Tobacco (BATU) is quite aggressive in the promotion and marketing of its deadly products. There’s widespread point of sale advertising, Sportsman signs bearing shop names are found on many shops throughout the country, Embassy signs grace most bars and restaurants and frequent competitions are featured in the press. However, corporate social responsibility schemes are a current tobacco industry marketing favourite. BATU’s widely publicized donations are clearly aimed at buying political favour,

improving its negative image and deflecting criticism and unwanted regulation. In the wake of the East African Community, BAT has also a growing regional focus in its activities and marketing, for example, BAT’s sponsorship of the annual East African Jua Kali (local artisans) show and the 2006 transfer of Ugandan and Rwandan tobacco factories to Kenya, making Kenya a centre of manufacturing excellence, Uganda a centre for leaf growing excellence and Rwanda, a centre of excellence for marketing and distribution of BAT’s killer products.

Q4 In many countries the tobacco industry is very influential and is able to limit the impact of tobacco control legislation. How does the government deal with the industry in your country?

Jackie Tumwine: There have been frequent press articles complete with photos of the president and his officials gracing BAT launches and receiving hefty cheques. This tobacco industry influence has undermined Uganda’s efforts to move tobacco control forward.

 Q5. Can you tell us about the main organizations active in tobacco control in Uganda?

Jackie Tumwine: In addition to HERO-Uganda, other organizations active in tobacco control in Uganda include the Environmental Action Network (TEAN) whose court case led to Uganda’s 2004 smoke-free law. The Uganda Tobacco or Health forum is a network of tobacco control advocates in the country whose members include doctors, lawyers, journalists and members of professional medical organizations and environmental groups.  

Q6. A first African Conference on Tobacco or Health has taken place in Casablanca in December 2006, with a majority of representatives of French speaking African countries in attendance. How do you assess the cooperation between tobacco control advocates in Africa? Is there a need for a continent wide network?


Jackie Tumwine: Even though coalitions already exist in East Africa and Francophone Africa, a continent wide network where African tobacco control advocates share information, experiences and expertise is absolutely vital. I think existing networks like Globalink can help us achieve this. 

Q7. Is there anything else you want to add?


Jackie Tumwine: I would also like to add that already we have a strong Framework Convention on Tobacco Control thanks to the African cooperation and solidarity during the treaty negotiations. Africa needs this cooperation even more as we enter the critical stage of FCTC implementation and as we face head-on the tobacco industry’s unwelcome market expansion into Africa.

About GLOBALink Africa

GLOBALink Africa is a project of GLOBALink sponsored by the Norwegian Cancer Society in collaboration with the Framework Convention Alliance: it aims to support a robust tobacco control community in Africa by developing the use of internet based tools like blogs.


1st African Conference on Tobacco or Health- lessons and resolutions

So what happened in Casablanca?

A question on the lips of many African tobacco control advocates who missed this first African Conference on Tobacco or Health held in Casablanca, Morocco, 7-10 December, 2006.

The Casablanca conference in itself was historic-it was the first continent-wide meeting that brought together tobacco control advocates from French-speaking Africa and those from English-speaking Africa. The conference was organized and hosted by AMAPES STOP TABAC whose bold initiative is commended. The conference was graced by several international tobacco control advocates from outside Africa.  

Presentations were rich and fell under the following topics- smoking behaviour trends, tobacco and communicable diseases, tobacco related diseases, addiction, cessation, industry behaviour, tobacco cultivation and manufacturing, regulation, smoke-free environments, Corporate Social Responsibility, women and smoking, tobacco taxation, tobacco and poverty, NGOs and tobacco control, tobacco control advocacy and FCTC.

One point that resonated in numerous conference presentations and discussions was the importance of regional and international collaboration and cooperation among tobacco control advocates.

“There is strength in diversity…Building coalitions and partnerships help avoid duplication of effort, increases geographical reach and multiplies resources.” Dr. Yussuf Saloojee, ‘Strengthening African Coalitions Against Tobacco’.

Although the conference registered 300 participants from 29 countries, there have been expressions of concern about the relatively small representation of African delegates, particularly from English speaking Africa.

Lessons drawn from the Casablanca conference that the organizers of the next African Conference on Tobacco or Health (Tanzania or Senegal) might want to consider:

1. Give timely and wide publicity of the event among tobacco control advocates in Africa as well as outside Africa.
2. Ensure representative participation of tobacco control advocates from all regions of Africa in the conference (attendees, organization and scientific committee members, chairs, presenters). Scholarship/ sponsorship opportunities (e.g travel grants) should be available for tobacco control advocates from all African regions. Visa assistance should be given where necessary.
3. Both scientific and non scientific aspects of tobacco control should be equally covered at the conference.
4. Translation/ interpretation services should be available in all sessions including workshops and seminars.
5. The meeting venue including dining halls and lobbies must be 100% smoke-free.

Below is the conference resolution

Casablanca Declaration on tobacco control

Concerned by the increasing death, disease, social, economic and environmental harms resulting from tobacco use
Alarmed by the role of tobacco use in increasing the burden of infectious diseases, notably tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and pneumonia, thus imposed a double burden on our societies
Troubled by continuous efforts of the tobacco industry to aggressively market its product and to undermine tobacco control policies in Africa
Recognising that tobacco control must include all forms of tobacco use including narghile and smokeless tobacco
Recognising that tobacco use contributes to poverty and destroys our efforts at development
Recognising that no individual, family, organization or state can alone confront this epidemic

The delegates of the 1st African conference on tobacco or health hereby:
1. Call upon governments to ratify the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC, WHO) and to enact and enforce legislation in conformity with its articles
2. Call upon all regional, sub-regional and continental organizations to include tobacco control policies in their charters
3. Reaffirm the importance of continuing political support from the African region for the conference of the parties of the FCTC
4. Call upon NGOs to develop broad multisectorial coalitions to sensitise the public of the importance of tobacco control, and to lobby and work with governments
5. Recommend that all Africa conference’s delegates from both North and Sub-Saharan Africa should be invited, continue at regular intervals following this first conference. The conferences should include translations into major international languages, and meeting venues should obviously be declared smoke-free
6. Call upon governments to recognize that tobacco growing does not have a viable long term future and does not contribute to sustainable development. Governments should therefore not encourage new tobacco growing projects
7. Urge governments to protect tobacco policies from undue influence by the tobacco industry and reject industry proposals for tobacco control
8. Call upon young people to protect themselves from tobacco and refuse to be exploited by the tobacco industry, and adults to be exemplary role models
9. Call on the international community to facilitate the provision of technical, legal, financial and other support
10. Call upon all participants to urgently disseminate and promote these recommendations in their daily work

Adopted at Casablanca, Morocco on Saturday 9 December 2006
Participating members from 29 countries

Click here for picture and declaration in English and French:


University Scholarships latest in BAT Rwanda CSR stunt

BAT Rwanda has done it again. Last November it was a donation of computers to a secondary school, and now, barely two months later, Rwanda’s New Times newspaper has reported a new scholarship scheme set up by BAT Rwanda to assist needy students at the National University of Rwanda (NUR).

The giving out of scholarships worth Frw 6 million to 12 private needy students is the latest in BAT Rwanda’s aggressive Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scheme. A scheme that is part of British American Tobacco’s regional goal of establishing Rwanda as a centre of excellence for the marketing and distribution of its killer products in the East African region.  

CSR is no doubt the current popular marketing strategy for the tobacco industry in Africa.

  These corporate social responsibility initiatives by an industry that is responsible for untold death and disease are totally unacceptable. Internal British American Tobacco documents reveal the company’s insincere motives behind their CSR drive; to disguise the impact of its business conduct, to improve its negative image (‘reputation management’) and to protect itself against unwanted criticism and regulation particularly in light of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

The BAT Rwanda CSR schemes should therefore be denounced by all including the Rwandan government. Rwanda ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control back in October 2005. Article 13 of this treaty calls for the banning of direct and indirect tobacco advertising and sponsorship. Rwanda, therefore, has an important commitment, in this regard, to her citizens, the United Nations and WHO to fulfill its treaty obligations.

The full story:
The New Times (Kigali)
January 16, 2007
Posted to the web January 17, 2007
Willy Mugenzi

The British American Tobacco Rwanda (BAT) is to give out scholarships worth Frw6 million to 12 private needy students with excellent grades at the National University of Rwanda (NUR).
During the official ceremony to handover the cheque of the scholarship to NUR authorities on January 12, the Director General of BAT-Rwanda, Luc Badibanga said that the company is determined to assist needy students who excel in their studies.

"The scholarship is meant to for needy private students and with outstanding academic performances in their respective courses. This is aimed at offering a decent future to needy students who may fail to continue their studies after secondary school through education," Badibanga said, adding that the scholarships to NUR, is a living testimony of the close links between the education sector and BAT-Rwanda.

Badibanga advised the underage children to avoid smoking as it may be detrimental to their health and future. "We are aware of the risky nature of the products we offer. Tobacco smoking is harmful to peoples' health and underage children are argued not to smoke and elderly chain smokers should quit it to avoid risks associated with it," he advised.
NUR Rector, Prof Silas Lwakabamba hailed BAT-Rwanda for the initiative of playing an integral role in Rwanda's development and argued other private companies to emulate BAT and support the socio-economic development of the country. "In developed countries, education is largely in the hands of the private sector but the phenomenon is reverse in least developed countries," Prof Lwakabamba said after receiving the cheque.

He added that for a stable future, investment in education needs critical emphasis since without education, basic human needs can be obtained.

The university will determine the students to benefit from the sponsorship and Prof. Lwakabamba promised students that the authorities will be transparent in the selection of beneficiaries.
BAT-Rwanda is one of the leading tax payers in the country.


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