The British government’s Department of Health is committing £15 million ($20 million) to bolster international support for a tobacco control project in Sri Lanka, which is believed to have the world’s highest rate of oral cancer among men.
The new project will promote accelerated implementation of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in low- and middle-income countries, with Sri Lanka one of just 15 priority countries.
British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka James Dauris said 60 countries applied for support from the WHO.
“Priority countries weren’t selected on the basis only of need, but also on level of commitment,” he told a news conference, a statement said.
Tobacco use is one of the principal causes of oral cancer and in Sri Lanka oral cancer is the most common form of male cancer, Dauris said.
“I understand that Sri Lanka is the only country in the world where this is so. This alone is a good argument for investing in change.”
Evidence from around the world confirms that effective measures reduce the burden of tobacco related death and disease, freeing up money and resource to be spent and invested in more productive ways, he said.