WHO confers World No Tobacco Day Award 2018 to Dhamana Veshi, Maldives
6th June 2018- On the occasion of World No Tobacco Day 2018, the World Health Organization conferred the World No Tobacco Day award to individuals/organizations belonging to the six WHO Regions doing outstanding work in Tobacco Control. The proud recipient from the WHO South East Asia is Dhamana Veshi the urban health center in Male- Award was conferred by WHO Representative Dr Arvind Mathur on behalf of WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Regional Director Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh. The event was graced by His Excellency Minister of Health Honorable Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim as the Chief Guest.
This year, the slogan for World No Tobacco Day Award is “Tobacco Breaks Hearts: Choose Health, not Tobacco.” The occasion focuses on the impact Tobacco has on the cardiovascular health of people worldwide. This is because it’s use is an important risk factor for the development of coronary heart disease, stroke, etc. According to recent statistics by WHO, 173 people die from tobacco-related diseases in the Maldives each year.
“For the first time in history, more people are dying from non-communicable diseases- such as cancer, diabetes and heart diseases- than from communicable diseases.” said Dr Arvind Mathur in his opening remarks, “What is concerning is that heart problems and stroke are more likely to be caused by tobacco use in younger people, causing premature deaths.”
Best buys in tobacco control are both cost effective and feasible for countries to implement. Reduction is tobacco use offers a return of USD 7.43 to an investment of USD 1 and would result in 15% reduction in premature mortality.”
The WHO Representative complimented the efforts of Tobacco Control Board, Health Protection Agency and Ministry of Health for their continued efforts such as developing policies for graphic warnings, ban on single stick sale, increase in tobacco taxes and enforcement of smoking bans in public places etc.
Dhamanaveshi, the proud recipient of the World No Tobacco Award 2018 is a small primary urban health center located in capital city Male’ and has made its mark in the global fight against tobacco control. From the day of inception, Dhamanaveshi continues to serve the public, creating awareness through health education on variety of public health aspects, especially educating at the national level on the dangers of using tobacco and its derivatives and advising pubic on quitting tobacco use. To date over sixty patients have received tobacco cessation services from Dhamanaveshi and all of them have quit smoking, a remarkable achievement.
“It is disheartening to know that people often fall sick and die at the peak of their youth because of Tobacco. That is the time when you can best serve your family and country, and that potential is being wasted away.” noted the Minister of Health, Mr Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim, “There are many successes we have accomplished in the area of tobacco control, however, efforts still remain. And these accomplishments need to be sustained. One of our biggest targets now is to expand tobacco cessation services to the islands and atolls.”
Through effective interventions, technical support and guidance, WHO is committed to fighting the local as well as global tobacco epidemic.