The struggle towards FCTC-compliant legislation in Burundi: an inspiring advocacy experience
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Health & Healing Network Burundi-HHNB, Burundi
University of the Witwatersrand, MSc Epidemiology& Biostatistics/Implementation Science, South Africa
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A451
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Background and challenges to implementation:
Burundi ratified the FCTC in 2005 but 12 years later, the FCTC-related legislation is not adopted. Burundi became a target of tobacco industry which has deployed invasive strategies including unlawful bribes targeting key policymakers like the FCTC representative. The tobacco use among youth shifted from 5.4% in 2008 (GYTS) to 19.3% in 2015 (WHO). MoH drafted a number of documents which have not been translated into FCTC-compliant TC laws. Following the 15th WCTOH in 2012, a youth-led CSO was created to implement conference recommendations and advocate for implementation of conventions ratified by the government.

Intervention or response:
From 2014, a robust advocacy campaign to accelerate adoption of a national FCTC-compliant TC law and advocate for tax increase nationally was initiated. MoH, National Assembly, CSOs, journalists, CTCA, CTFK are some of the stakeholders. For national partners, it is inclusive but strategically emphasizes more on key stakeholders and MPs, directly involved in law-making process.

Results and lessons learnt:
Apart an inter-ministerial network, a strong partnership with the National Assembly is established and 38 MPs trained on FCTC-compliant laws. The partnership aims to ensure adoption of strong FCTC-compliant legalisation and high uptake from policymakers. MPs are members of the Health commission (17) and 3 from each of the 7 more commissions. They welcomed and accepted to defend in plenary amendments proposed by the juridical team in response to a weak law given to them by MoH. Public and confidential lobbying sessions with other relevant influential stakeholders are organized in order to ensure all is done before 2017 ends.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
The process to get a FCTC-compliant legislation is now going to the legislature and it is anticipated that law will be voted between 11th-15th December 2017; promulgation in the last week of December 2017. Advocacy for TC policies should use strategies that guarantee uptake and translation of TC law into practices.