Education Against Tobacco starts in Sudan

The fifth country joins our project: Sawsan Zeinedin (photo) is a 20 year old medical student from Sudan who successfully founded the first Education Against Tobacco group in her home country two weeks ago. So far, 78 fellow medical students from eight medical schools joined her team to educate 12-16 year old Sudanese high school students about the advantages of non-smoking by the research-based EAT approach. The concepts have been translated into arabic language.

Sawsan, what motivated you to start the project in your country?

“In Sudan we have a high number of smoking adolescents and this is mainly because of a lack of awareness – teenagers simulate others like celebrities or think smoking helps them to deal with problems in their personal life. So when I read about the project I thought that it is the time for us to make a difference and to decrease the number of adolescent smokers. After all, they are still young and they deserve a healthy and better life and we should support them by age appropriate tobacco prevention.”

How is the smoking prevalence in Sudan and why do you think it is important to start an action in your country?

“Smoking is widespread in Sudan so you may see mostly males from different age ranges smoke everywhere. As we know smoking does not exclusively hurt the smokers but also surrounding individuals (second hand smoke). Accordingly, we should prevent all these problems by taking action now.”

What convinces you that medical students can make a difference?

“Medical students in Sudan are very co-operative, supportive and hard workers and most of them had volunteered to join medical convoys to rural areas to educate the people there about different issues. So from the activities they do to change our community in a better way I am sure that we will do an amazing job in this project.”

What were the first reactions from your colleagues?

“Most of them liked the project and are so excited to start working as schools are in vacation now. Most of them actually already waited for an opportunity to fight adolescent smoking – the provided concepts are very helpful for us.”

Which medical schools in Sudan do participate?

“Until now we have 8 medical schools and we hope the number may increase within the coming months. The participating medical schools are

* Ahfad University for Women
* Omdurman Islaminc University
* University of Khartoum
* Bahry University
* Dongla University
* Sudan International University
* Elrazi University
* Altaqana University (University of Sciences and Technology, College of Medicine)”

Are you a medical student and interested in participating? Join the team now: http://educationtobacco.org/sudan/

Sawsan_Zeinedin

Sawsan Zeinedin (Supervisor of Education Against Tobacco in Sudan)

Interviewpartner: Titus Brinker