Friday, January 25, 2019

WSO says no to tobacco industry policy interference

The World Stroke Organization has joined forces with colleagues at the World Heart Federation, World Hypertension League, NCD Alliance and many others to express our concern about an open letter from a tobacco- funded Foundation to the WHO Executive Board. Read our joint statement on why tobacco funded research has no place in health and development policy.

144th Session of the WHO Executive Board, 24 January – February 1st, 2019 Geneva 
Agenda 5.4: Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 

Distinguished chair, Members of the Executive Board,

Thank you for the opportunity to deliver this statement on behalf of WHF supported by the Framework Convention Alliance, World Federation of Public Health Associations, International Alliance of Patients' Organizations, World Stroke Organization, World Hypertension League, International Society of Nephrology, American Heart Association, Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa, African Heart Network, NCD Alliance, Union for International Cancer Control, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Smoke Free Partnership, Southeast Asian Tobacco Control Alliance, and Advocacy Center Life Ukraine.

We are deeply concerned by the open letter to the WHO EB issued on January 24, 2019, by the so-called “Foundation for a Smoke-free World”.

We would like to remind all delegates of something that they already know: the sad history of the tobacco companies’ cunning communication tactics and their funding of questionable research to delay effective measures to reduce deaths from smoking. It is because of this history that we would like to highlight SDG 3a, which states “strengthen the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in all countries, as appropriate.” Distinguished delegates, as Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, you made a binding legal commitment to protect your policy-making process from tobacco industry interference, via Article 5.3 of the Convention.

In support of the statement issued by the FCTC secretariat on the launch of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, WHF recommends that no government or organisation should accept money from, endorse, or enter into partnerships with the Philip Morris International (PMI) funded “Foundation for a Smoke-Free World”. The tragedy of the enduring global tobacco epidemic requires us to work hand in hand to implement what works – the implementation of the FCTC. The World Heart Federation pledges to continue to warn all the researchers we work with across the world not to accept money from, endorse or enter into partnerships or conduct research in any way related to this PMI-funded Foundation.

We are confident that none of us will be fooled by the toxic influence of tobacco industry lobbying and funding, no matter how they disguise themselves.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Working together to raise stroke awareness in Ghana

The World Stroke Organization has a growing patient stroke support organization network across the world and in Ghana making connections within this network is helping to raise stroke awareness.

Clara Boatemaa, a 25 year old university student based in Oxford, England contacted the WSO about setting up a charity to support stroke awareness in Ghana. Clara comes from a small town in the suburb  of  Sunyani in Ghana. After the sudden death of her mother from a stroke in 2017, Clara became more aware of how unaware and uneducated people are about stroke in  Sunyani. She has now become passionate about educating people about this disease. 

WSO put Clara in touch with our stroke support organization member, Stroke Association Support Network- Ghana (SASNET Ghana) and together they organized a community stroke awareness programme in Odumase in the Sunyani municipality of the Brong Ahofo Region on 14th and 15th December, 2018.

Clara used the opportunity to raise stroke awareness in the community to mark her mother's one year anniversary.

The major causes of stroke in the community are hypertension, excessive alcohol intake, tobacco smoking and abuse of drugs.

SASNET- Ghana led by the Director of Operations Ad Adams Ebenezer with the support from the Ghana NCD Alliance, organized the two day awareness event in which 1,600 people participated.

On the first day of the programme, the team went on a walk through Odumase with the theme 'Odumase Up  Again After Stroke'. The team shared brochures on  prevention of stroke and other NCDs.

There were  free medical screenings and the common risk factor identified during the screening was elevated blood pressure.

The chiefs and the elders of the community attended the event and Clara was appointed as the SASNET- Ghana  ambassador for the UK. Clara has pledged to help SASNET - Ghana with its goal to establish a rehabilitation centre in the community to enable citizens to check their blood pressure and for people affected by stroke to access rehabilitation.

For more information on SASNET-Ghana visit

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