bans

Information reaching hbtvnews.com indicates that work on the draft Legislative Instrument (LI) on Ghana?s Public Health Act, 2012 (851), empowering the implementation of Tobacco Control law, which had been undergoing fine-tuning at the AG?s office, has been completed and forwarded to the Ministry of Health for onward presentation to Parliament.

Business24

In 2012, the Public Health Act 851, which contains measures to control Tobacco use in Ghana, was passed by Parliament. In the same year stakeholders commenced work on a draft LI which was presented to the Attorney General for what was described as ?legal fine-tuning?.

The long wait in the implementation of the Act has been met with a lot of complaints from stakeholders and advocates. In May 2015, Media Alliance in Tobacco Control (MATCO), a media association interested in Tobacco Control legislation for Ghana, began a campaign, which sort to identify the delay in the passing of the LI.

Reports from the AG?s office indicate that work on the LI had been completed and passed on to the office of the Minister for Health. Mr. Emmanuel Owusu Ansah, of the Ministry of Health (MoH), who is also a board member of the Mental Health Authority, however says he is not aware that the LI had been forwarded to the Ministry of Health, ?I don?t know that the LI has been brought here. All I know for sure is that it is with the Attorney General, if they say it has been signed all what we need to do is to put a covering letter on it and forward it to Parliament.?

He says that bureaucracy and funding are partly responsible for why the LI is still at its current state.

Work on the LI is done by a broad spectrum of interest parties including the Ministry of Health, Food and Drugs Authority, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and other consultants and stakeholders.

According to Mr. Owusu-Ansah, ?Particularly with this LI we have been working on it for about two years. The last hurdle was to get it to the Attorney General?s office. In getting the LI done you need to get the legal language right, from the Attorney General?s department.?

With this new development, it is expected that barring further bureaucratic impediments, Parliament should be in possession of the document within a week, where it will get to mature after 21 sitting days. This will then leave the full implementation of the Act at the doorsteps of FDA.

Completion of work on the LI is good news for advocates who have been campaigning for the adoption of the LI since 2012. It is worthy of note however that out of the nine components of the Public Health Act (Act 851), the LI on Tobacco is the only one that has received the most attention. In Mr. Owusu Ansah?s words, the LI on Tobacco Control was singled out in in view of the FCTC global interest. ?We are working on the others but we haven?t gone that far?.

Mr. Owusu Ansah however reiterated that ?Tobacco is not a big problem in Ghana. How many people smoke in this country, there are bigger health problems.?

While this might come as good news to advocates and stakeholders, there is also the fear that the LI as worked on by the Attorney General might once again become a permanent document on the desk of the Minister of Health.

In an exclusive interview with Mr. Jeorge Wilson Kingson, the Global Cancer Ambassador for Ghana, who is also the Chairman of MATCO, he says ?This is good news. We will stop at nothing to ensure that Ghana gets a solid tobacco control law. The use of tobacco in Ghana, especially by the youth is increasing by the hour. It is not as if we don?t have a law to control tobacco use, we have the law but it can?t bite and that is why we need this LI badly so it can give the law the teeth to bite.

?We are happy to hear that the LI has moved to back to the Ministry of Health. We are pleading with the Minister not to delay it any further. This document must run to parliament immediately. Our worry is that any further delay at the Ministry will prevent the approval of the LI by August. Parliament is going on recess by the end of July?.

The LI on Tobacco Control Measures will outline the implementation structure of the Tobacco Control component of the Public Health Act (Act 851). Chapter six of the Act prohibits the sale of Tobacco to children, smoking in public places, and advertisement of tobacco products amongst other activities.

Source: IEO ,hbtvnews.com

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.