CDC Foundation Receives Nearly $4.6 Million to Track Tobacco Use in Sub-Saharan Africa

The CDC Foundation has received a grant of nearly $4.6 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to track tobacco use and tobacco control measures across sub-Saharan Africa. The four-year grant will enable the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in partnership with the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, to build and enhance tobacco use surveillance and research capacity in sub-Saharan Africa, providing nationally representative data to track tobacco use and trends across the region.

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the world, resulting in almost 6 million deaths annually. Compared to many other regions, tobacco use in sub-Saharan Africa remains relatively low, but consumption in the region is rising as tobacco companies are increasingly targeting low- and middle-income countries and seeking to expand usage among these populations. According to a study published in Tobacco Control, it is estimated that without comprehensive tobacco prevention and control policies, smoking prevalence in the region will rise from approximately 16 percent in 2010 to 22 percent by 2030.

“This grant provides additional resources in sub-Saharan Africa, which presents a unique opportunity to curb the harmful consequences of tobacco use and save lives,” said Samira Asma, D.D.S., M.P.H., chief, CDC’s Global Tobacco Control Branch. “The Gates Foundation funding through the CDC Foundation will allow CDC in partnership with the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, to work with in-country partners to enhance tobacco control and surveillance capacity in this region.”

In sub-Saharan Africa, survey components of the Global Tobacco Surveillance System (GTSS)—including the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, the Global Youth Tobacco Survey, and Tobacco Questions for Surveys—will be implemented by countries to provide globally standardized tobacco use data and track key tobacco control measures among the region’s adult and youth populations. The implementation of GTSS will produce needed tobacco use estimates that will help stakeholders develop tobacco use interventions and policy recommendations. Additionally, GTSS implementation will enhance program capacity by increasing public health professionals’ skills in survey design, implementation, and evaluation.

“We are pleased to partner with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve the health and lives of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Charles Stokes, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “Tobacco use is the major preventable cause of premature death and disease worldwide. This investment will provide research and information to help prevent tobacco use in this region. ”

For more information about CDC’s Office of Smoking and Health and GTSS, visit and