As Uganda gears up towards celebrations to mark the World No Tobacco day, the country faces criticism for slow implementation of the Tobacco law which was passed and assented to by President Museveni a year ago.
This has left many Ugandans at the mercy of the tobacco industry as many continue acquire tobacco related diseases like Cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Dr Hafsa Lukwata, the acting in-charge for mental health section at Ministry of Health notes that among the detrimental aspects is the failure by individuals to comply.
The ministry of health calls on employees to report al their bosses who don’t put aspects of the law into consideration
“We see both foreign and local bosses smoking in the presence of their subordinates, just come to us and report them,” she said.
Lukwate says failure to implement the law has affected Uganda’s health sector.
Suileiman Lubega, a senior consultant pediatric cardiologists says 2 ouf of 100 children born in smoking areas are likely to experience heart disorders or even get what is commonly referred to as holes in the heart.
According to the Uganda Heart institute, the effects also cut across with even adults who have been smokers suffering.
“20% of surgeries we do are on smokers who have damaged their hearts.”
Because of smoking, heart diseases rank 4th among the killer diseases in the world after malaria and cancer,” he said.
Worrying however is that many of the patients who present with these illnesses don’t have the financial muscle to treat themselves.
According to the Uganda Health Communication Alliance it costs between Shs. 1.6M to Shs. 15 Million to have a heart surgery or treatment in Uganda. And since many can afford this about 2 million deaths are registered globally due to cardiovascular strains annually