BrightZAP Trip Report
Anaesthesia provision in Zambia is at crisis point – the Ministry of Health estimates that the country is over 200 anaesthetists short of the number required to provide adequate provision for safe surgery to its population, and less than half of its hospitals currently employ trained anaesthesia providers. The Brighton - Lusaka Link is committed to improving both the quality and capacity of the initial training programme and providing continuing professional education opportunities for Anaesthetic Clinical Officers in Zambia. These clinical officers deliver the vast majority of anaesthetics countrywide, but have not had access to the duration or quality of educational opportunities offered to their few Physician Anaesthetists via the UK-led MMed Anaesthesia programme.
World No Tobacco Day
May 31st is World No Tobacco Day, a campaign championed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to raise awareness of the role of tobacco and smoking, not just on global health but on global development and economic growth. The theme for the campaign, ‘Tobacco – a threat to development’, is a hard-hitting message that hopes to reach a wide target audience, proposing a range of measures that both government institutions and members of the public can take in addressing the global tobacco epidemic.
According to WHO, the campaign primarily seeks to address the health impacts associated with tobacco, since it is estimated that up to 6 million people die from tobacco use every year. However, on a much more fundamental level, the campaign hopes to raise awareness of the economic, political and environmental impact growing, trading and using tobacco has on counties, and the implications that further compound social inequalities.
Statistics suggest that 80% of premature deaths from tobacco occur in low or middle-income countries, contributing to the disease burden in economically disadvantaged regions. Tobacco Control has therefore been made a priority as part of the Sustainable Development Agenda.
In Zambia, it is estimated that 3300 people die from tobacco-related illnesses every year. There is great concern that its use is growing among women and children as a result of aggressive marketing practices. Current figures suggest that over 56,000 children in Zambia are smokers, and the figure looks set to continue to rise.
In middle income countries such as Zambia, addiction to tobacco directly disadvantages families and children causing illness, suffering and family distress. Here, like in many countries, already-stretched salaries are used to buy tobacco, leaving less resources for other essential goods such as food, fuel, medicine and education. An additional complication with specific reference to Zambia, where TB is one of the greatest threats to public health, is that tobacco use substantially increases the risk of TB and death from TB. A reduction in tobacco use could have far reaching benefits in the management of other health priorities.
Through the 2017 campaign WHO are advocating stronger Tobacco Control Policies, but what would that mean for a country like Zambia? Governments use the tobacco control measures in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) to reduce prevalence and exposure to tobacco. The measures are typically transposed as laws or regulations. According to WHO, for less than 60 ngwee per person per year Zambia will be able to pay for the four 'best buys' in tobacco control policy;
· Raising tobacco excise taxes
· Enforcing a comprehensive national smoke-free law
· Banning tobacco advertising and promotion, and
· Mandating large graphic warning labels on tobacco product packaging
It is believed that a combination of these measures could result in significant gains in social, economic and health benefits in Zambia.
Throughout May, we will be raising awareness of World No Tobacco Day on twitter and facebook. Look out for our #WorldHealthWednesday tweets which will be dedicated to tobacco and lung health for the month of May.
WHO World No Tobacco Day
UN Sustainable Development Goals
The Tobacco Atlas
WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
UK and other donors commit to support Zambia's health sector
British High Commissioner Fergus Cochrane-Dyet OBE says the UK and other health cooperating partners are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of all Zambians.
Speaking on behalf of Cooperating Partners that are supporting Zambia’s health sector at the Health Sector Annual Consultative Meeting in Lusaka today, Mr Fergus said:
"On behalf of the Health Cooperating Partners, let me start by wishing you a productive and fruitful 2017. We thank the honourable Minister and his team for the opportunity to jointly reflect on 2016 and collectively chart a path for improved joint working in 2017."
"The Health Sector commenced 2016 on a high note following some success in achieving the 2015 millennium development goals four and six on reducing child deaths and halting the spread of HIV."