VISA actively supports government initiatives in favour of tobacco. VISA is a member of the National Steering Committee on Tobacco Control which falls under the aegis of the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life. The collaboration between VISA and the Ministry of Health dates back to the pre-FCTC period. However, with the ratification of the FCTC by the government of Mauritius in 2005, VISA brought its technical expertise in the development of the FCTC-compliant national legislation and its subsequent implementation. During the recent past, VISA participated in meetings and working sessions leading to the following:
- development of a National Action Plan on Tobacco Control 2013-2017;
- development of the second set of pictorial health warnings for cigarette packages; and
- amendments to the Public Health (Restrictions on Tobacco Products) Regulations 2008.
VISA also conducted two training programmes on smoking cessation for the health sector in Mauritius and one such training for the health sector in Rodrigues. These trainings were conducted by high-calibre resource persons from overseas. Click here to read more on the trainings.
In 2014, the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life initiated the mHealth project whereby online smoking cessation services using mobile phones would be made available to smokers. SMS messages will be sent to registered smokers who wish to quit. The programme was being set up with the support of the World Health Organization. VISA formed part of the core team set up by the Ministry of Health for designing the project and participated in the training workshop conducted by experts from the WHO. It regularly participated in the follow-up meetings held by the MOH and contributed in the development of 300 messages to be sent to smokers.
As a member of National Steering Committee on Tobacco Control, set up under the aegis of the Ministry of Health, VISA contributed in the development of the new set of pictorial health warnings for cigarette packages and the drafting of amendments to the existing Public Health (Restrictions of Tobacco Products) Regulations 2008.