Egypt’s Ghada Wali awarded WHO’s Public Health Champion

30-09-2018 07:50 PM

Georgette Sadeq

Egypt’s Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali received on Friday 28 September the World Health Organisation (WHO) award for the most influential ministers in the health sector from non-health sector, the Public Health Champion Award. Wali won this award in recognition for her efforts in the fight against drug and tobacco abuse.

As Minister of Social Solidarity since 2014, Ms Wali has adopted various initiatives that addressed social ills and the needs of underprivileged groups. Her programme for battling drug addiction, the Fund for Drug Control and Treatment of Addiction (FDCTA), adopts the motto “Say No to Drugs”. It runs a campaign to encourage Egyptians to veer away from all kinds of drugs. Egyptian footballer Mohammed Salah, the wildly popular Liverpool star, participated in the “Say No to Drugs” campaign last February, following which

the number of calls to the campaign’s helpline rose by 400 in three days. Ms Wali is also the chairman of the Board of Directors of the FDCTA. She said the campaign’s Facebook video that calls for resisting drug intake was viewed 5 million times in the 72 hours since it was launched. “Some 88 per cent of viewers were between 18-35 years old. Facebook, Instagram and YouTube videos’ have been watched 8.4 million times, shared for 23,000 times and liked by 359,000 viewers,” she said.

The campaign battling drug abuse also launched an ongoing movement of random drug checks on drivers and other professionals. Those found to be on drugs during working hours are subject to stiff penalties; if addicts, the are offered enrollment in rehabilitation programmes.

The Social Solidarity Minister pointed out that Egypt has raised tobacco taxes, and uses the revenue to finance a comprehensive health insurance programme that should ultimately cover all Egyptians.

Ms Wali said that a new programme has been launched by Egypt’s government to provide financing for small or micro projects for recovered addicts. The programme was named “New Beginning”.

Other than the drug abuse programme, Ms Wali spearheaded nationwide programmes targeting problems of health and education, such as “Takaful w Karama” (Solidarity and Dignity) which links financial support for needy single mothers to their strict adherence to vaccinating their children according to Health Ministry schedules, regularly visiting the health unit in each village or district, and regular school attendance by their children.

The Minister also introduced “The first 1000 days in the child’s life” awareness programme that targets pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers; also the “Two are enough” programme that educates women on reproductive health and birth control.

Ms Wali thanked WHO for the honour conferred upon Egypt, and for the award.

A WHO statement stated that health issues are socio-cultural economic issues linked to poverty and services and affect production and growth. Health itself is a goal to achieve quality of life and growth. WHO called on the private sector and non-governmental health programmes to support and cooperate with health ministers. And it pledged to support countries that developed integrated strategies to achieve development plans and goals.

In February 2018, UNIATF announced that the International Task Force on Prevention and Protection of Non-infectious Diseases decided to give international awards of three categories to the ministries of health, ministries other than ministries of health and United Nations offices around the world. Nominations are global, and the awards delivered in New York on the margin of the UN General Assembly meetings.

The award was also presented to the ministers participating in the reducing infection as part of strategic indicators for sustainable development goals. The results led to winning of the Ministries of Health in Bahrain, Barbados, Guyana, the Non-infectious Diseases Committee in Iran, and the Ministries of Health of Sri Lanka and Rwanda.

Outside of the ministries of health, the Committee of Alcoholic Policies in Scotland wom, in addition to a number of public figures such as Mrs Ghada Wali, Minister of Social Solidarity, Chairman of Board of Directors of Fighting and Treating Addiction Fund in the Arab Republic of Egypt; Mr Jorge Carlos, President of the Republic of Cape Verde; and Ms Samant Kumara, head of the presidential team of smoking prevention in Sri Lanka. The WHO offices in China and Turkey were selected for the award as part of the UN offices around the world.

Watani International

30 September 2018

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