March 27, 2013- The Parliament of Rwanda has approved the tobacco control law as part of the process to domesticate the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). This was revealed by the Prime Minister of Rwanda, Dr. Pierre Damien Habunnuremyi, while officiating at the opening of the 4th EAC Health and Scientific Conference at the Serena Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda.
He said Rwanda supports the implementation of the WHO FCTC and called on stakeholders in the region to support tobacco control interventions, which he said is a priority area for the region.
He further stressed the need for all the partner countries to focus on Maternal and child health, non-communicable diseases and Quality of health care of health systems, which he said are key health interventions in the region. , Dr. Pierre Damien Habunnuremyi noted that Rwanda has managed to achieve the target for the Millennium Development Goal 4 which focuses on Child and Maternal Health and urged the countries in the region to learn from some of Rwanda’s best practices.
Speaking at the same conference, the Chairperson of the EAC Sectoral Council of Ministers of Health, also Minister of Health Uganda, Hon. Dr. Christine Ondoa stressed the need to assess the opportunities and needs for the health of the people in the region. She hailed the Government of Rwanda for accepting to host the conference which was first hosted by Uganda.
Rwanda’s Minister of Health, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho said that the conference provides an opportunity for a coordinated response to the health challenges in the region and urged both the policy makers and the technocrats to share their experiences and best practices, and come up with the most appropriate health strategies for the region. She called on all the member states to support the establishment of the Health Research Commission geared towards sustainable health care delivery and transiting research into health care provision.
The Conference will also see the launching of the East African Chapter for the Implementation of the WHO FCTC for the East African Member States, under the theme; ‘ Building a Tobacco free EAC to protect children starts with YOU’.
The 4th EAC Scientific conference is attended by scientists, health workers, health policy makers, regional Parliamentarians from the five EAC member countries, members of the East African Parliament, Civil Society Organizations and Health Development Partners. It is held under the theme, ‘ Regional health priorities and opportunities-evidence for action in the changing global financial situation.
A symposium on Tobacco Control, Public Health and Social Economic Dimensions and Non- Communicable Diseases is one of the five parallel activities of the conference, to be held on Thursday March 28. It is sponsored by WHO and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, with contribution from CTCA.