Minister of Health Mr Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim conferred World No Tobacco Day Award by WHO
31st May 2017 – On the occasion of World No Tobacco Day, the World Health Organization has conferred The World No Tobacco Day Award to Minister of Health Maldives Mr Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim.
With technical support from WHO Country Office, Minister led the organization of a High Level Advocacy Forum with presence of HE Vice President, several Cabinet Ministers and importantly Members of Parliament and provided with evidence for raising the tax on tobacco as one of the cost effective strategy for tobacco control in the region.
This resulted in the exemplary policy initiative to ensure raising the tax on Tobacco Products in the country to approximately 60%, a major milestone for Maldives and the WHO South East Asia Region.
The Honorable Minister of Health supported the hosting of the Pre COP (Convention of Parties) Meeting in Maldives in September 2016 which was held successfully and widely participated. Maldives was a member of Regional Bureau of FCTC until 2016, Minister supported the nominated representative to fulfill obligations and contributions to regional and global goals for Tobacco control.
He demonstrated leadership in ensuring availability of Tobacco Cessation Services in Maldives with launching of Tobacco Cessation Toolkit while making services available in Male and increasingly expanding at regional and atoll hospitals. He led the discussion and negotiated with Asandha/NSPA for inclusion of Tobacco Cessation Medication within Health insurance Coverage for free.
In addition, Mr Abdulla Nazim Ibrahim revitalized the Tobacco Control Board-an independent multi-disciplinary advisory body with representation from multiple sectors while ensuring regular Board meetings and participates regularly to understand the challenges and guidance that Board provides for enhancing tobacco control activities in Maldives which have been acted upon.
Additionally, the Minister Led the World No Tobacco Day 2016 Activities organized at atoll level through “iChoose Life Campaign” including an island-wide walk with participation of the community that contributed to enhanced awareness amongst population on Tobacco Control at island and atoll level. Through this initiative, he also encourages Hospitals and Health Facilities to become Smoke and Tobacco Free and intends recognition of such facilities.
The Minister of Health to the Maldives continues to oversee and support the work on amending the legislation further especially to address issues relating to Graphic Health Warnings and smoking at public places while also looking into the legal provisions for banning the sale of single sticks of cigarettes.
WHO would like to express sincere congratulations to the Excellency Minister on this remarkable achievement and compliment his team for their continuing efforts to strengthen implementation of FCTC and addressing the Tobacco’s threat to public health and sustainable development. The WHO Country Office assures our highest commitment to the Government of Maldives to ensure tobacco free generations to come.