The grant will enable the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in partnership with the Africa office of the World Health Organization, to build and enhance tobacco use surveillance and research capabilities across the region. The effort will include implementation of the CDC's Global Tobacco Surveillance System to capture globally standardized tobacco use data and track tobacco control measures among adult and youth populations. It is expected that implementation of GTSS will produce tobacco-use estimates needed by stakeholders to develop interventions and policy recommendations while boosting survey skills among public health professionals in the region.
Although tobacco use in sub-Saharan Africa remains relatively low, consumption of tobacco products in the region is rising as tobacco companies focus their marketing efforts on low- and middle-income countries. According to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Tobacco Control, unless comprehensive tobacco prevention and control policies are implemented, the number of smokers in the region will rise from approximately 16 percent of the population in 2010 to 22 percent by 2030.
"We are pleased to partner with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve the health and lives of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa," said CDC Foundation president Charles Stokes. "Tobacco use is the major preventable cause of premature death and disease worldwide. This investment will provide research and information to help prevent tobacco use in this region."