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Tobacco Control

Data from the Global Burden of Disease Study shows that 52 % of the total mortality was due to NCDs in 2016 in Ethiopia. Cardiovascular disease and cancer contribute to an estimated 54% of NCDs. Tobacco use, the same study shows, is one of the four main risk factors for NCDs. While rates of tobacco use in Ethiopia are low (5 percent overall), this rate translates to millions of people. The low rates of tobacco use make the country, with an estimated population of 105 million, a target for tobacco companies seeking new markets for products that are both addictive and deadly. Action has been needed to ensure that tobacco use rates decline. To this end, the Council of Ministries (COM) of the government of Ethiopia has approved the WHO FCTC compliant proclamation, a legal instrument to implement measures to reduce tobacco use and save lives.

Media and communications work was essential for the draft law to be fully approved by the House of People’s Representatives of Ethiopia. Therefore, HDAMA in collaboration with CTFK, and other local stakeholders from 1 November 2017–28 February 2019 initiated and implemented a project entitled: “Communications and media campaign to intensify support for the adoption of the proclamation with TC measures in Ethiopia”. The objective of the project was to conduct an ambitious media and communication campaign to raise awareness and galvanize support for the timely adoption of the public health bill with TC measures in Ethiopia. Building on partners ‘ existing public awareness initiatives and mounting public pressure to create visibility and generate support for regulations adoption through media and communication campaign was a key strategy. The Health, Development and Anti Malaria Association has done a lot of communication and media works to endorse the tobacco control law. We can cite the following as an example.

The Health Policy highlights prevention of substance use, including tobacco as a priority area. The Government had banned advertising, promotion, and sponsorship of tobacco before the ratification of the FCTC. However, the point of sale promotion of tobacco use is so common that it is rather challenging to ban without a TC law in place along with stringent regulations and community level enforcement mechanisms. In 2015, Ethiopian Food, Medicine, and Healthcare Administration and Control Authority (EFMHACA), which was the statutory body responsible for implementing the FCTC ratification law, issued a national tobacco control Directive. This directive is equivalent to a decree or a regulation since it is issued at the administrative agency level. However, there are some limitations with the Directive as it neither defines violations nor impose civil penalties. Only the law or proclamation can mandate penalties. Meanwhile, EFMHACA took the lead in drafting a proclamation (law) in 2016, which is comprised of a TC chapter with key provisions such as 100% Smoke-Free, 70% Pictorial Health Warning labels and ban on Tobacco Advertising and Sponsorship (TAPS).

Sensitization and partnership building workshops on the importance of adopting the FCTC compliant proclamation with participates from public and private media was held with a total of 70 participants. A sensitization and partnership building workshop was conducted on the importance of adopting the FCTC compliant proclamation with Tube owners and Social media Activists and influential and known artists and writers with a total of 65 participants More than 21 TV and Radio stations gave a wide media coverage for the two workshops and delivered relevant messages to the public.

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3. Articles and Interviews: different articles and interviews directly related to the project objective were released in major newspapers in the country. Among them are Reporters, Addis Lisane, Addis Zemen, Maya and Addis fortune. In general, we have put together more than 10 best articles and insights for publication.

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4. Panel Discussion with Policy Makers: panel discussion has been conducted on The Devastating Impact of Tobacco use and Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: legal and Policy Consideration for Ethiopia with policy makers from House of People Representative, Council of Ministers, Prime Minster Office, EFMHACA, AA- FMHACA, WHO, MWECS, religious leaders, different medias, Prominent figures, artiest and. 45 minutes of production has been produced and broadcasted through Nahoo TV. 13 TV and Radio stations gave a wide media coverage for the panel discussion and delivered relevant messages to the public.

5. Develop, print and distribute advocacy materials: Numerous awareness creation productions have been printed and distributed in this reporting period; advertisements at bus stops and city taxis have been made; billboards are posted. The detail is as follows: Brochure: 50 thousand brochures have been printed and disseminated. This publication is centered on the Health impact of tobacco use and the enforcement of smoke free environment in Addis Ababa city. The distribution part was made through AAFMHACA; Poster: 1,000 posters have been printed and posted in the main road of Addis Ababa;

6. TV and Radio spots produced and publicized TV and Radio Spots: Two TV spot and two radio spots has been produced in two rounds. After the completion One minute TV and Radio spots production work, the spots were broadcasted through Fana Broadcasting Corporate (Fana TV and FM radio), Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporate (Ethiopian National Radio) Walta Media and Communication Corporate (Walta TV) during prime time. The first round radio advertisement has been aired for: 60 sessions (Two times per day) through Fana FM and And also TV spots have been aired for: 14 sessions, through Fana TV The second radio advertisement has been aired for: 64 sessions (Two times per day) through Fana FM and 34 sessions (one time per day) through Ethiopian National radio, during prime time. And also TV spots have been aired for: 7 sessions, through Fana FM and 20 sessions through Walta TV during prime times. An estimated 34 million people are reached through this communication channel.

Live panel discussion: Two hour live panel discussion was made in collaboration with Amahara Mass Media Agency (Amhara TV) on the overall objective of Communication and Media Campaign. TV program dissemination: Twenty six minutes TV program/discussion was prepared by engaging and participating various professionals from the AA-EFMHACA, HDAMA, MWYCS, CfTFK and other stakeholders the programs were broadcasted on Addis TV. Radio Program Production and dissemination: The radio program was prepared and broadcasted in three parts. The programs were broadcasted on Ahadu FM radio stations. Documentary film production and dissemination: A ten-minute documentary film is being produced and transmitted through various channels. In addition, the documentary has duplicated 100 CD copies to distribute for selected policy makers. This documentary is made up of interviews of very influential individuals in Ethiopia. 7. Social Media Campaign: a number of messages were produced and validated for a standardized and harmonized use for social media campaign. Twenty Four sessions of messaging has been disseminated through 36 bloggers and 9 tubes. An estimated 18.5 million people are reached through this communication channel.

What was the result

Health Development and Anti Malaria Association has contributed significantly to the legislative process by implementing this project. The capacity of key stakeholders from media and other social networks and associations was built; sustained media pressure for the adoption of the proclamation with FCTC compliant TC measures was galvanized. Well focused and coordinated information media and communication programs were planned and carried out with active and substantive engagement and stakeholder participation. As a result, the concept of FCTC, legislative gaps in Ethiopia and the importance of adopting the TC proclamation were well understood and public and policy makers’ awareness was raised. The media and the public at large had aggressively requested the government why it took so long to adopt the FCTC compliant TC law. This had put strong pressure on the policy makers. As a result this intervention, the House of People’s Representatives of Ethiopia has approved a comprehensive, strong and FCTC compliant TC law. Therefore, the objective of the project is fully realized with in the time frame set. Ethiopia has now strong comprehensive TC proclamation vital tool for effective tobacco control in the Country.

What are we doing now?

Once the proclamation had adopted by the house of people’s representatives (parliament), familiarizing the law to all concerned, including the government for its proper application and enforcement and the general public for observance, was the next key step for the tobacco control effort to be successful in Ethiopia. Hence, HDAMA has been implementing a successful project entitled “Communications and media campaign to intensify support for the adoption of the proclamation with TC measures in Ethiopia” since November 1, 2017.

This project aimed to make publicize the FCTC compliant proclamation to the relevant partners and stakeholders across key sectors and the public through awareness creation and aggressive media outreach campaigns. It also helps to lay the foundation for implementing the decree and the regulations by improving the capacity of the relevant stakeholders. Henceforth, the main purpose of this project is to increase the popularity of tobacco control proclamations and lay the foundation for its successful implementation through effective communication and media activities.

This project is, therefore, publicize the proclamation and regulations to the relevant partners and stakeholders across key sectors and the public through awareness creation and aggressive media outreach campaigns and support setting the foundation for the implementation of the proclamation and regulations.

What We Do Next

The Health Development and Anti-Malaria Association works with the vision of seeing a strong and self-reliant community that can easily defend itself from major communicable and non-communicable diseases. There have been studies of a rise in the number of non-communicable diseases in Ethiopia in recent years. Tobacco use is one of the four main risk factors for Non-Communicable Diseases. With an estimated population of 105 million, low tobacco use rates make the nation a destination for tobacco companies finding new markets for products. The Health Development and Anti-Malaria Association sees this as a major national health, social and economic threat. Therefore, HDAMA will continue to intensify its efforts to prevent and control any health, social and economic problems caused by tobacco use. And it also calls for the cooperation and support of stakeholders and donors on this stand.

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