Unless serious tobacco control initiatives are passed and successfully implemented, tobacco use could double in the African continent within a decade. Certain legislative policies are proven to reduce exposure to and use of tobacco products. However, lawmakers who are considering these policies do not have easy access to trusted data on tobacco control. Although good quality data often exists, it remains siloed within individual agencies, research institutions, private sector companies, and civil society organizations. Furthermore, some of the data that does exist comes directly from tobacco industry representatives and can be misleading.
Getting Timely, Relevant, and Trusted Data to Policy Makers
In partnership with the University of Cape Town and support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this 3.5-year program works to address barriers to data use in tobacco control by consolidating available and trusted tobacco control data, identifying and filling data gaps, and creating an online resource for policymakers to access the relevant data needed to pass and monitor tobacco control legislation. TCDI builds on DG’s background of supporting data-for-decision-making to ensure that key government stakeholders have access to the right data at the right time in the right format.
In the first phase (2019-2020), DG is engaging with 4 countries: South Africa, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Kenya. An additional 3-4 countries will be added in 2020-2021. Each country program is guided by in-depth needs assessments and stakeholder workshops to identify policy priorities, data gaps, and decision-maker needs. Utilizing these inputs, TCDI will build tools that support data for more effective tobacco control policy design and implementation.
Several months ago, the Tobacco Control Data Initiative (TCDI) team completed an assessment in South Africa to understand the key priorities and data needs of those who work in tobacco control. During the assessment, the team talked to a variety of stakeholders within government agencies, civil society organizations, and academia who work on promoting, advocating, or evaluating tobacco control policies.