WHO lauds Health Minister for progressive strides in tobacco control

Kingston, Jamaica — Dr Fenton Ferguson, Minister of Health, was commended by World Health Organization consultant, Dr Stella Bialous, for leading Jamaica towards full compliance of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

He was attending the Stakeholder’s consultation on the Implementation of Article 5.3 of the WHO FCTC hosted by his Ministry in collaboration with the Pan America Health Organization (PAHO) and WHO on Tuesday.

The ministry said in a release today that, the commendation came shortly after Dr Ferguson addressed attendees about the importance of being bold despite the Tobacco Industry’s tactics to undermine and subvert tobacco control efforts.

“There is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interest and public health policy interests. Public officials must have open and transparent interactions with the Tobacco Industry. These two statements must be factored when you develop a code of conduct during this consultation,” he said.

Dr Ferguson was making reference to the development of a plan by the participants who represented Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), to adhere to Article 5.3.

This article that forms part of the FCTC addresses the protection of public health policies with respect to tobacco control from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry, the release said.

The FCTC is a public health treaty which highlights tobacco control measures that are to be employed by all countries which have ratified it including Jamaica.

The aim of the consultation, according to the ministry, was to:

  1. Identify and discuss Tobacco Industry Interference with focus on corporate social responsibility
  2. Discuss the involvement and role of all Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the implementation of WHO FCTC Guidelines for the implementation of Article 5.3
  3. The development of a code of conduct for public officials with respect to Article 5.3, as a means of ensuring transparency of interactions between the Government and the Tobacco Industry.

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