The Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa (CTCA) in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a mobile application yesterday. The application will monitor compliance and violation of existing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship throughout the country. The launch was presided over by the WHO Representative of the Uganda Country Office, Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldermariam.

In his remarks, Dr Woldermariam revealed that the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2017 showed Tobacco Use was at about 8% among Ugandan adults, adding that risk factors associated with tobacco use were one of the biggest contributors to premature deaths, among Non-Communicable Diseases. He also revealed that about 2% of those affected were second – hand smokers. “The most logical way to reverse this tragedy is to enforce compliance to the strong existing laws in the country”, he concluded.

Research Assistants (in white T-shirts), Dr David Musoke standing next to Dr. Hafsa Lukwata (with yellow headscarf) of Ministry of Health, Dr. Yonas Tegegn Woldermariam (army-green coat), Dr. Jim Arinaitwe (dark blue suit) CTCA Manager, Dr. Kerstin Schotte of WHO, Shital Thakkar, Marie Clem Carlos (black coat, orange blouse), and Kellen Nyamurungi (floral dress) at the mobile application launch.

Dr David Musoke who represented the Dean of the School of Public Health of Makerere University, commended CTCA for the work they were engaged in, noting that it was one of “the flagship projects” of the School of Public Health performing exceptionally well. “Your work informs our teaching and research, and policy and practice” he added. Dr Musoke further applauded WHO for their continued partnership with Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH).

In a passionate plea to the research assistants present, Dr David Musoke (pictured above) reminded them of MakSPH’s commitment to quality research. “We expect that of you so that the findings are good for CTCA, MakSPH, WHO and the global community”, he emphasized.

The Use of the anti – Tobacco application is a pilot study that is being conducted in only seven countries across the world, Uganda being the fifth to implement it, and one of two in Africa. Two types of data collection will be employed; the conventional method, and crowdsourcing – where anyone can download the application and then use it to send information. It takes less than a minute to use the application. The Project Principal Investigator is Kellen Nyamurungi, who is also the Technical Advisor, CTCA; WHO is funding the research

The mobile application called Tobacco Spotter, can be downloaded from either Google Play or Apple Store. It was developed by Shital Thakkar of DURE Technologies

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