The World Health Organisation (WHO) has acknowledged the Vision for Alternative Livelihood Development (VALD), a non-governmental organization (NGO), for making efforts to control tobacco use in the country.
VALD, a health-oriented NGO, achieved the recognition through its outstanding contribution to the advancement of policies and measures contained in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
The NGO campaigns against tobacco use and builds the capacity of community members on the sixth section of the Tobacco Control Measures of the Public Health Act, (Act 851) of Ghana.
The Act, which was passed by Parliament and assented by the President of Ghana on October 9, 2012, bans tobacco smoking in public and in advertisements; and seeks to prohibit the sale of tobacco.
Dr Idrissa Sow, Country Representative of WHO, presented the award to Mr Issah Ali, VALD Director, at a ceremony at the WHO offices, in Accra on Tuesday.
Dr Sow said Ghana had really shown commitment to the implementation of the FCTC and VALD, which had been in the forefront of the campaign, deserved the award for its programmes and activities in the fight against tobacco use.
He called on civil societies in the country to sustain their efforts in monitoring the implementation of the FCTC so that any gap found in the measures would be addressed to ensure a tobacco-free society.
“Previously, no-smoking of cigarettes was restricted to offices but now it is not allowed in office compounds, this shows how committed heads of organisation area in ensuring its prohibition at workplaces” Dr Sow said.
He congratulated VALD for its education on the harmful effects of tobacco use, and the capacity building of the community members and assured the NGO of the WHO’s support.
Mr Ali praised WHO for sourcing funds for the activities of VALD, saying the health organization would continue to ensure that the tobacco issues in the Public Health Act was implemented.
“We cannot just sit down after the law has been passed. We will continue to seek support so that our sensitisation activities and programmes can reach the entire country,” he said.