Paho assists with anti-smoking frameworkPOSTED: 07/12/12 11:31 AM
St. Maarten – The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labor, section Collective Preventive Services (CPS) will soon be embarking on their Get Checked program with the focus being smoke free public spaces and 100 percent smoke free schools by 2014 as a means of creating healthy environments. Natasha de Herrera, a consultant on Tobacco and Alcohol control with the Pan American Health Organization (Paho) office of Venezuela was on the island to offer technical assistance in the development of the framework. She has been working with PAHO for 16 years in the area of tobacco control on all aspects, such as policy, implementation and research all in the context of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in the region. She has worked in the Latin American and Andean countries, and will now be assisting St. Maarten.
“I will be providing technical support on tobacco cessation, which is important for the prevention of tobacco related diseases, and in addition it prevents the use of other drugs/addictive behavior,” de Herrera said.
“I will like to thank Paho and Natasha de Herrera for assisting us. However, we must continue to focus on prevention and that can only start with each person taking full responsibility for their actions. It is extremely important that we teach this to our children/students because this is where the real prevention and change begins,” said Minister of Public Health Social Development & Labor, Cornelius De Weever.
De Herrera was able to share a number of documents during her meeting with the campaign team, which consists of Virginia Asin, Daphne Illis, Lorraine Scot, Fenna Arnell and Roddy Heyliger. Some of the documents are: “The Health Consequences of involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke,” “Report of the US Surgeon General,” Tobacco-free cities for smoke-free air: A case study in Mecca and Medina,” and a model ordinance amongst others.
“I would like to congratulate the team at CPS for this very important initiative they are taking, as using the schools is a great way to impact the community, which can give good measurable results, and can be used as a best practice in other countries,” de Herrera said.
She further stated that with the assistance of Dr. Jorge Jenkins Paho representative in Venezuela for the Dutch Caribbean, they will make an extra effort to lend their support on this very important campaign.