To ensure sustainable development through mobilization of resources and strengthening tobacco control, Vision for Alternative Development (VALD), a member of the Ghana Non Communicable Diseases Alliance (GhNCDA) in June 2017 convened a high level round table meeting.
The meeting sought to draw a link between tobacco and development and to make tobacco control a national development priority, one that would also serve as a revenue stream for financing health interventions in Ghana.
The meeting adopted a declaration, which was disseminated to all key tobacco control stakeholders and partners including numerous government ministries, Ghana Revenue Authority, the National Development Planning Commission, non-government organizations (NGOs) and the WHO and UNDP country offices.
To follow up, VALD and other tobacco control advocates met with Deputy Minister of Health Hon. Kingsley Aboagye-Gyedu. The delegation emphasized the need for the government to give priority to the ratification of the Illicit Trade Protocol (ITP), which has already been signed by Ghana.
It also urged the ministry to revamp the Tobacco Control Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee (TC-IACC) for efficient functioning and proper coordination.
“The ministry must allocate adequate resources to support tobacco control and NCDs related activities in the country” - Labram Musha, VALD Programmes Director and convener of the Ghana NCD Alliance
In response, Deputy Minister for Health Kingsley Aboagye-Gyedu indicated that the government is considering introducing a 'sin tax' on tobacco, alcohol, and other harmful products as a way of raising revenue to support the health sector. He added that this a step towards the implementation of a preventive health approach rather than curative health policies.