Awarding the Best AntiTobacco ‘Fresque Murale’

The Awarding Ceremony for the National AntiTobacco ‘Fresque Murale’ InterCollege Competition took place on 30 September 2019 at the R. Gandhi Science Centre, Bell Village in the presence of the high officials from the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life, Ministry of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research and WHO Representative in Mauritius, Dr Laurent Musango.

Dr Bhoshun Ori, Director Health Services during his welcome address recalled that the National AntiTobacco Mural Painting InterCollage Competition was organized in June 2019 in the context of the World NoTobacco Day 2019. The aim of the competition was to deter the very first puff among young school youth. A total of twentytwo private and public secondary schools registered for the competition. Students in a group of 5 to 8, led by their respective teachers, conceptualized mural painting at their schools according to the technical guidelines set. A jury panel comprising technical officers from the ministries of Health and Education, chaired by Dr Ori, Director Health Services, reviewed and assessed the entries based on welldefined criteria which include creativity, relevance and presentation among others.

Dr Laurent Musango, WHO Representative in Mauritius, during his speech, congratulated all the students who participated in the competition. ‘You are all winners in this competition’, he told the students present. During the competition, you have sensitized your peers and everyone at schools on the harmful effects of smoking. ‘Young people underestimate the risks of tobacco and the likelihood of becoming addicted to nicotine when they first tried to smoke’, emphasized Dr Musango.

‘Young people should bear in mind that tobacco is not like any consumer product. It is hazardous and it causes death and kills half of its users’, underlined Dr Musango. The latter congratulated the Government of Mauritius and the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life for all the progress made in implementing strong tobacco measures which include among others, the promulgation of the FCTCcompliant tobacco regulations, the ban of advertising, promotion and sponsorship and the implementation of graphic health warnings on cigarette packages. ‘However’, pointed out Dr Musango, ‘there is still more actions to be taken to reinforce the existing tobacco control measures such as the strengthening of the law on the ban of single sticks and sale to minors to reduce access to tobacco products’.

Dr Ramen, Acting Director General Health Services, during his address, spoke of the ‘unpreceded pandemic of NCDs faced by all countries around the world’. He stated that ‘tobacco is a threat to everyone, irrespective of age or gender’. He added that, ‘tobacco is responsible for 7 million of death in the world yearly; of which 6 million people die due to tobacco consumption and around 600,000 due to exposure to secondhand smoke’.

The Camp de Masque State College won the National AntiTobacco ‘Fresque Murale’ InterCollege Competition and the students were awarded a check of fifty thousand rupees while the New Eton College and Hindu Girls were at excequo as the second runner up and received a check amounting to twenty thousand rupees each. The first runner up, Beau Bassin State Secondary School won a check of thirty thousand rupees. All the students who participated in the National competition were awarded Certification of Participation and Shields.

In Mauritius, tobacco importation has decreased over the years as a result of the intensive national antitobacco programme that is being conducted through the year and also due to the strong tobacco control measures taken by the Government of Mauritius after the ratification of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2005. A decrease in tobacco importation is noted from 1.3 billion of sticks in 2009 to 1 billion in 2018.

In Mauritius, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) account for 85% of disease burden and 81% of mortality. According to the NCD Survey 2015, tobacco use among adult males remains high in Mauritius at 38% as compared to other African countries. 50% of the smokers are in the age group of 1924 years. As regards to youth smoking, the Global Youth Tobacco Survey 2016 revealed that 19% of school youth aged 1315 years (28% boys and 10% girls) are current smokers.

Source: World Health Organization. Africa