From Elohor Igbru, Abuja
The Nigerian government in collaboration with Development Gateway (DG), a data for development nonprofit organisation has developed the Tobacco Control Data Initiative (TCDI) website which creates a “ one-stop-shop” that would allow stakeholders and general public access the relevant and up-to-date data to advance tobacco control legislation in the country.
In a statement released in Abuja, Development Gateway said the TCDI is in response to the increased use of tobacco products in Nigeria and the various dangers that it portends for the general public especially the young people. According to the Development Gateway, the TCDI has become necessary due to the staggering statistic about tobacco use in Nigeria.
“At least 16,100 Nigerians die annually because of illnesses linked to tobacco use. 3.2 million Nigerians between the ages of 15 and 49 used tobacco in 2018; and about 200,000 tobacco users are women (NDHS, 2018). While tobacco consumption globally is decreasing, by 2030 the number of smokers in Africa is anticipated to rise by nearly 40% from 2010 levels. This is the largest expected increase in the world; particularly alarming when juxtaposed with the fact that Nigeria is a tobacco production hub and was the third largest exporter of cigarettes in 2018 (Africa’s Tobacco Epidemic, Tobacco Tactics, 2020).
The organisation says the TCDI would fill in the data gap in tobacco control that would enable legislators and decision makers use correct data to inform public health policies.
“ Certain legislative policies are proven to reduce the use of tobacco products. Through their research, the TCDI team identified common themes in the data landscape. These relate to concerns about data accuracy, comparability, timeliness, and accessibility. As a result, the TCDI team understands the data needs and gaps, has identified existing data, and developed the TCDI Nigeria website that enables decision-makers to use essential data to inform tobacco control policy more effectively. “
Speaking further, the Development Gateway said the website would make use of primary and secondary data to present tobacco control in formation in a user-friendly format with graphs, facts and success stories.
“ Together, partners co-designed a publicly available website that aims to address key decision-making needs. The website equips stakeholders in government, civil society, academia, and the general public with reliable and up-to-date evidence to promote tobacco control and public health.
“It draws on both primary and secondary data sources and presents tobacco control information in user-friendly formats such as graphs, infographics, myths and facts, and success stories. The website will feature six themes: tobacco prevalence, tobacco harm, illicit trade, taxation, industry interference, and shisha use. The website will be updated with new information as this becomes available over the course of the program.”
In developing the dashboard, the Development Gateway said it made use of existing data as well as interviews with key members of the tobacco control community. “Before creating the TCDI Nigeria website, the TCDI team assessed the existing data and stakeholder needs through hour-long interviews with key members of the tobacco control community. The learnings from the assessment were validated with stakeholders during a workshop in November 2020 before technical development was started in early 2021. The website was created through an agile, co-design process in close consultation with key tobacco control stakeholders in Nigeria, including the Federal Ministry of Health; Nigerian Tobacco Research Group, Federal Revenue Inland Services.”
Among the partners working on the dashboard are the Federal Ministry of Health, University of Cape Town Research Unit on the Economics of Excisable Products (REEP) and the Development Gateway.