Friday, August 1, 2008
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Bloomberg Philanthropies are backing the World Health Organization's fight against the deadly tobacco epidemic and the tobacco giants behind it. This massive contributions, reportedly $125 million from the Gates Foundation and $25 million from the Bloomberg Foundation, are set to help countries with limited resources to reduce tobacco use, and it offers WHO and its partners new opportunities to reverse this growing epidemic, especially in the developing world.
"The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control demonstrated the global resolve to tackle this problem and WHO has developed interventions proven to be effective to combat tobacco use," said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO. "I warmly welcome this contribution and I am especially pleased with its focus on Africa."
To help countries fulfill the promise of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, WHO created MPOWER, a package of six effective tobacco control policies: raising taxes and prices; banning advertising, promotion and sponsorship; protecting people from second-hand smoke; educating everyone about the dangers of tobacco. The WHO estimates that if trends continue, tobacco use could kill and astounding one billion people by the end of this century - with more than 80% of these deaths occurring in developing countries.