Kathmandu: The 6th Asia Pacific Summit of Mayors (6th APCAT Summit) has highlighted the need for sustaining routine vaccination programs, TB control, and preventing mother to child transmission of viral hepatitis during pandemic to prevent a secondary health crisis.
The 6th APCAT Summit delegates adopted the declaration which commits subnational leaders for stronger action in advancing tobacco control, preventing NCDs, leveraging synergies between Covid-19 response and other health and development responses among others.
Renu Dahal, Mayor of Bharatpur Metropolitan City in Nepal, expressed her commitments for tobacco control, adding that necessary policies are being formulated for tobacco control.
“Bogor City has achieved 89.05% Covid vaccination rate which is highest in West Jawa, Indonesia. I had instructed the hospitals in Bogor City to identify those who use tobacco because tobacco use can cause co-morbidities and lung diseases which put people at higher risk of Covid serious outcomes,” said Dr Bima Arya Sugiarto, Mayor of Bogor City in Indonesia, and co-Chair of APCAT.
“That is why I ensured tobacco control activities continued during the pandemic as those who suffered severe Covid disease have been heavy smokers as well. Stopping smoking is part of Covid prevention protocol campaign in Bogor City.”
“Tobacco control is an issue that requires multisectoral cooperation,” said Francis A Garcia, Mayor of Balanga City in the Philippines, and co-Chair of APCAT. “That is why Mayors and other subnational leaders who are best placed to synergize multisectoral response locally for advancing tobacco control and prevention of non-communicable diseases, have united as APCAT.”
“Despite set back the pandemic imposes; Indonesia is committed to reducing youth smoking prevalence. To achieve this, the Ministry of Health continues to advocate to impose the highest attainable taxes on tobacco products, adopt 90% pictorial health warnings on tobacco packaging and forbid the selling of single stick of cigarette and regulate electronic cigarettes,” said Budi Gunadi Sadikin, Minister of Health, Republic of Indonesia.
“Only by scaling up global cooperation to bring together governments, WHO and other UN agencies, civil society, academia, and the private sector can we make progress towards a successful recovery and achieve SDG target 3.4, and universal health coverage” said Dr Svetlana Akselrod, Director of Global NCD Platform, World Health Organization.
“During COVID-19 pandemic, the tobacco industry tried to intensify their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Campaigns and build relationships with the government. Countries need to incorporate Article 5.3 of the FCTC into their domestic laws in order to prohibit the influence of tobacco companies over tobacco control policies making” said Dr Gan Quan, Director for Tobacco Control, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union).
“Tobacco control is an issue that requires multi-sectoral cooperation. The mayors’ alliance has made a great stride in promoting tobacco control throughout the Asia Pacific region. The Alliance is also a critical platform for sharing best practices and lessons learned among leaders,” said Kelly Larson, Bloomberg Philanthropies.
“Health is a political choice that should ensure leadership, accountability and sustainability for the effective implementation of public health policies and programs and prevent current and future pandemics”, said Dr. Tara Singh Bam, Asia Pacific Director of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. “APCAT is a forum of Mayors where local innovations and solutions are shared to improve tobacco control, NCDs and lung health”.
The summit was held on December 7 with the theme, “Together we bring health solutions”. The summit brought together over 800 delegates from 130 cities in 19 countries including Mayors, Governors, public health experts, media, and youth.