The Convention Secretariat, together with WHO, the Government of the Lao Peoples Democratic Republic and the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, conducted a joint needs assessment mission on 812 September 2014. This mission was made possible through funding by the European Union.
Meetings were held with senior policy-makers and stakeholders from various Government ministries and United Nations agencies, to discuss achievements and challenges and to identify needs and gaps in implementation of the WHO FCTC.
Lao PDR ratified the Convention in 2006 and a comprehensive tobacco-control law was adopted in 2009. The Vice Minister for Health, Associate Professor Bounkong Syhavong, expressed his countrys appreciation for the support provided by the Convention Secretariat and WHO in the joint needs assessment exercise.
The main recommendations made by the needs assessment team included actions to address industry interference and ensure full implementation of tobacco tax policies, including collection of tobacco taxes to enable the operation of the National Tobacco Control Fund as soon as possible.
In addition, it was recommended that decrees on smoke-free policies, banning of advertising at points of sale, and the introduction of pictorial health warnings be adopted, along with strong enforcement measures.
The WHO Representative to Lao PDR, Dr Janet Fleischl, added: “this assessment will provide an evidence-base for policy, programmes, a plan of action and activities to support the National Tobacco Control Law and WHO FCTC implementation”.
A full report of the missions findings will be completed jointly by the Convention Secretariat and the Government of Lao PDR. Post-needs assessment support will be provided in subsequent months. Other Parties interested in participating in needs assessments should contact the Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org.