PM calls for action on drugs abuse, nutrition

KILIMANJARO: PRIME Minister Kassim Majaliwa has issued a fervent call to action, urging Tanzanians to take the problem of drug abuse seriously while emphasising the critical importance of prioritising nutrition for the nation’s overall well-being.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the Uhuru Torch race yesterday in Kilimanjaro Region, he underscored the detrimental effects of drug abuse on society, particularly highlighting its impact on the country’s youth the pivotal individuals of the nation’s workforce, expected to spearhead productivity and propel developmental strides forward.

“The majority of victims of drug abuse fall within the age bracket of 13 and 24 years. This demographic represents the backbone of our nation’s workforce.

The government cannot afford to remain passive in addressing this issue; it will continue to intensify efforts to root out all perpetrators involved in the illicit drug trade,” noted the Prime Minister.

Furthermore, the Premier highlighted a concerning development: the emergence of a new, highly toxic form of cannabis known as ‘cha arusha’ and ‘skanka’.

Often mixed into cigarettes, the consumption of these substances leads to alarming behavioural changes.

“It is imperative that young people using these dangerous forms of cannabis cease immediately to safeguard their well-being. The youth are indispensable to our nation’s future; they are the architects of our progress. Engaging in such substances veers them off the path of prosperity,” emphasised Mr Majaliwa.

Acknowledging the significance of this demographic to the nation’s prosperity, the Prime Minister highlighted the government’s accelerated efforts in combating the production, distribution, consumption and trade of illicit substances.

“We are intensifying our endeavours to eliminate these harmful activities,” he asserted. “Additionally, we are committed to closing all avenues of drug trafficking, including tightening security measures at bus stations, airports, ports and other vulnerable points of entry.”

He added “There are several indicators pointing to an escalating trend of drug abuse within the nation: an increasing number of individuals seeking treatment for drug addiction, a rise in arrests related to possession and abuse, a surge in drug smuggling activities and a corresponding uptick in drug abuse-related crimes such as theft, robbery and burglary.”

The Premier further identified several regions grappling with persistent challenges related to cannabis cultivation, including Mara, Morogoro, Arusha, Coastal, Kagera and Mwanza.

He underscored the need for concerted action and targeted interventions to curtail illicit drug activities. Against the backdrop of mounting challenges, Mr Majaliwa emphasised the imperative of adopting healthier lifestyle choices, with a particular emphasis on good nutrition.

He emphasised that by fortifying the nation’s dietary habits, Tanzanians can collectively protect the health and vitality of the country’s workforce, ensuring a brighter and more prosperous future for all.

“We have continued to emphasise that food should contain all the nutrients. Women of childbearing age, lactating women, pregnant women, teenage girls and children under five years old need to get good nutrition,” he said.

According to the statistics of 2022, the nutritional situation among Tanzanians is not satisfactory, where 30 per cent of children under the age of five are facing the problem of stunting and 12 per cent are underweight and prevalence of thinness stood at three per cent.

Mr Majaliwa further said the problem of overweight and obesity is becoming a national epidemic, but it is also becoming a major cause of the increase in Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

“Everyone must change their lifestyle and include exercise in their daily routine,” he said.

In a significant initiative, the Prime Minister affirmed the Uhuru Torch race’s commitment to championing various societal issues, including the fight against corruption, HIV/AIDS and drug abuse.

He called upon all Tanzanians to actively participate in these efforts to ensure the nation’s progress and well-being.

Additionally, he called upon all Tanzanians to join the ongoing battle against corruption and any other factors that undermine the nation’s progress and wellbeing.

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