Background and Context:
Tobacco is a single major contributor to morbidity and mortality worldwide among the youth and adults causing many deaths each year. Tobacco usage is the single most preventable cause of death and serious health problems in our society. Kenya like other developing countries has not been spared by this hazard. Although Kenya enacted the Tobacco Control Act in 2007, Prosecution of the offenders still remains a major challenge
To create awareness on the dangers related to use of tobacco by sending short text messages using mobile phones as effective tools of passing information in this digital age.
Tobacco and Alcohol Free initiative (TAFI), a community based organization in Western Kenya region established a network of 15 youth groups, faith based organizations and Community health workers who could work as channels of passing information. The groups were sensitized in a one day workshop. Text messages with specific messages on dangers of tobacco use and exposure were formulated jointly. Weekly to Community Health workers, youth leaders, and faith based leaders. These messages are sent on the days that they meet so that they can be shared during the meetings with those who do not have telephones
Outcomes/What was learned:
These activities are still going on, over 3000 people have been reached with different messages, however, the reports we have is that people are getting to know the dangers. This has been an effective personalized method of Tobacco Control advocacy and implementation of the Tobacco Control Act.
It has also come out clearly that many people are yet to be sensitized for its impacts to be realized in the community.
Collaboration and networking should be strengthened as a way of improving the advocacy wing on the dangers of Tobacco.