WHO awards Ethiopian Official, Ms Heran Gerba in honor of her fight for tobacco control

Addis Ababa – Ms. Heran Gerba, Director General (DG), Ethiopia Food and Drug Authority (EFDA) has received the 2021 World No Tobacco Day Award today for her efforts in tobacco control through her leadership role at FDA.

In a ceremony organized today, WHO Ethiopia handed over the award to Ms Heran, which includes a medal and certificate of recognition signed by the WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom.

Ms Heran is one of the six awardees selected for this year from the WHO Africa region.

Every year WHO acknowledges individuals and organizations for their significant contribution to improve tobacco control. Ms Heran Gerba is the fifth awardee from Ethiopia. Previous award winners have included the House of People’s Parliament in 2014 and 2019; Tigray Regional State in 2017, and Mr. Wondu Bekele, Executive Director of ‘Mathiwos-Wondu-Cancer-Society’ (MWCS) in 2020.

In her 17 years of service as Deputy DG and DG of EFDA, Ms Heran has demonstrated strong leadership and contributed significantly to key milestones in tobacco control. Notable among these is the successful adoption of 2019 Food and Medicine Proclamation #1112/19, adoption of increased tobacco taxation in 2020 as part of the Excise Tax Bill, and the Graphic Health Warnings with 70% cover of principal areas of local cigarette brands. Her support and commitment in building capacity of regions to domesticate national tobacco control regulation and develop context specific tobacco control regulation, enforce and create smoke free environment has been exceptional.

“Since 2014, Ethiopia has received five World No Tobacco Day awards which is symbolic of successive advances that the country has achieved in tobacco control.” Said Dr Bouriema Hama Sambo, representative to WHO Ethiopia . He added “Ms. Heran Gerba’s exceptional contribution to tobacco control by nurturing policy-based advocacy includes the 1112/19 FDA proclamation for tobacco control law & the exhaustive monitoring campaign to ensure that public places remain compliant to the Law.”

H.E Dr Lia Tadesse, Ethiopian Health Minister also congratulated Ms Heran Grba speaking on the award ceremony. “I am happy that today Ethiopia has received the 5th World No Tobacco Day Award through Mr Heran Gerba, Director General for EFDA. Dr Lia added her role was key in achieving the key milestones in tobacco control efforts.”

Source: World Health Organization. Africa