Belize’s Minister of Health and Wellness Attends Regional Meeting on Tobacco Control in Brazil

Belize’s Minister of Health and Wellness Attends Regional Meeting on Tobacco Control in Brazil

Belize’s Minister of Health and Wellness, Kevin Bernard, is in Brazil attending a regional meeting on tobacco control hosted by the World Health Organization and the Pan-American Health Organization. The Pre-COP10 and Pre-MOP3 engagements are centred on regulating tobacco use and establishing protocols to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products. Bernard is the keynote speaker at the event and is being accompanied by his CEO, Dr. Julio Sabido. Bernard explained the importance of taking part in the event and how he underscored Belize’s commitment to combating tobacco use. 

Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health and Wellness: “Belize has done some significant efforts in addressing this issue. In fact we are at a stage where legislations are being drafted. There’s a draft legislation already which is being reviewed and constantly being addressed so that we could we’re hoping that we could take this to the House in next year. As you know the biggest topic on this matter is the fact that there are a lot of different now products, tobacco products that are emerging. You know, you have the electronic tobacco products but again while we sign on to a convention there are certain things that are tailored to each country’s specific criteria. So your individual laws has to reflect the circumstances that you ought to implement. In some countries, as in Belize would be, it cannot just be an immediate ban. But it has to maybe there are phased approaches or approaches that will look at some level of allowance and some level of baning, especially in public spaces where there’s parks and playgrounds where young people go to recreate. So it’s a wide discussion that is taking place. And my CEO is with me because of course a lot of the discussion as well has a lot of technical matters when it comes to health. And so in support of the policy position from a government perspective, as the minister, I’m here to express and was here to express Belize’s position in terms of what we’re doing, in terms of the tobacco control legislations and the protocol that exists since 2003. And so for Belize itself, like I said, there has been a lot of engagement. I mean, we work closely through the National Drug Abuse Council as well who has been very instrumental in some of the discussions that are taking place in the region. Sometimes we don’t see these things but there’s a lot of things that has been happening behind the scenes through the various departments, through public health, through Dr. Musa’s office and along with my CEO.”

Bernard further emphasized the significant role of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and its shared fight against tobacco-related illnesses. 

Minister Bernard returns to the country this weekend.

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