Guyana: Health Ministry to launch Tobacco Cessation Clinics at Health Centres
Guyana: Health Ministry to launch Tobacco Cessation Clinics at Health Centres

Guyana: The Ministry of Health, Chronic Diseases Unit will soon roll out a Tobacco Cessation Clinic at various health centres across the country.

Dr Shelieza Gopie – Technical Officer for Tobacco and Alcohol Control, said the new initiative would soon see health centres in both the hinterland and coastland regions collaborating and encouraging patients to quit smoking by utilising the 5 A’s strategy.

“Soon, we will be launching something called Tobacco Cessation Clinic; and to prepare for that, one of the things we encourage is motivational intervene, and this stands against brief tobacco intervention, which will see the introduction of the 5As in our everyday clinic visits,” Dr Gopie said.

She further explained that this initiative could also be used for alcoholic patients. The 5As will see health care providers giving rise to the following assistance when patients visit:

1st A – asking every patient that visits the hospital if they smoke tobacco

2nd A – advising the patient that smoking is unhealthy and it can lead to chronic and cardiovascular diseases

3rd A – assessing the patient by following up with questions like ‘would you like to be a nonsmoker?’ or ‘do you think that you can be successful within the next few weeks of quitting?’

4th A – assisting the patient to quit smoking with the use of the Acronym STAR
S – Setting a quit date
T – Telling family members and friends so that they can be accountable
A – Anticipating challenges
R – Removing all cigars or any form of tobacco from the house

5th A – arranging cessation clinics to work along with the patient in cases where they would need Nicotine Replacement Therapy. However, these clinics are not made available yet.

Dr Gopie also highlighted that the Tobacco Control Act, which was passed in the National Assembly in 2018, provides guidelines that state that persons can be liable to a fine if found guilty of smoking in specific places, including health and various government facilities such as schools, stadiums playgrounds, any indoor working space, or any office within 5 metres of the window or door.

Guyana’s Tobacco Control Act prevents smoking in any indoor workplace or public space, public transport or any means of transport carrying a minor. Stadiums, national places of significance or any place of commercial service of food or drinks are also places where smoking is prohibited.

Tobacco use continues to be one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the world, killing up to half the people. Annually, tobacco use kills 8 million people – including 1.2 million non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke. Tobacco use is counted as one of the major risk factors for non-communicable diseases such as chronic respiratory diseases, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.