Tobacco Surveillance and Data for Action in Africa

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the world, resulting in more than eight million deaths annually. Compared to many other regions, tobacco use remains relatively low in sub-Saharan Africa, but consumption in the region is rising as tobacco companies are increasingly targeting low- and middle-income countries. It is estimated that without comprehensive tobacco use prevention and control policies, smoking prevalence in the region could rise from approximately 15 percent in 2010 to almost 22 percent in 2030. Therefore, it is imperative to build interventions and programs based on credible data to keep tobacco use rates low and prevent avoidable morbidity and mortality.

Expanding CDC’s Global Tobacco Surveillance System

The Global Tobacco Surveillance System (GTSS), comprised of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), the Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS), Tobacco Questions for Surveys (TQS) and Tobacco Questions for Surveys for Youth (TQS-Youth), provides globally standardized data to track adult and youth tobacco use prevalence and trends across the world. The CDC Foundation supports the work of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and other international partners in implementing and expanding select components of GTSS in sub-Saharan Africa.

GATS is the global standard to systematically monitor adult tobacco use and track key tobacco indicators through a nationally representative household survey of adults aged 15 years of age or older. The survey is intended to generate comparable data within and across countries and enhances a country's capacity to design, implement and evaluate tobacco control interventions. Since the inception of GATS, the survey has been conducted in 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

To promote global comparability of adult tobacco use data, TQS and TQS-Youth were developed to provide countries with a standard set of tobacco use questions for inclusion in ongoing national and sub-national surveys. TQS is a subset of survey questions taken from the GATS core questionnaire, and TQS-Youth is a subset of survey questions from the GYTS core questionnaire that can be integrated into surveys to promote data comparability within and across countries over time.

Some countries in sub-Saharan Africa lack comprehensive and comparable data on adult tobacco use trends and effects of tobacco use. The implementation of GATS, TQS and TQS-Youth generates comparable data within and across countries and enhances a country’s capacity to design, implement and evaluate tobacco control interventions outlined in the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) through the MPOWER policy package.

In addition to funding, the CDC Foundation provides logistical and programmatic support including managing contracts and procurement, convening subject matter experts and partners, working with WHO and CDC to support survey implementation and helping operationalize CDC’s vision for global tobacco surveillance.

Helping CDC Build Tobacco Control Capacity

The data collected through GTSS will be used to build research, epidemiology and policy capacity in sub-Saharan Africa. The CDC Foundation supports CDC in implementing Data to Action workshops to build in-country and regional tobacco control capacity for advancing tobacco control policies, programs and research. In addition, the CDC Foundation supports CDC by developing new training tools, funding research projects and developing mentorship programs.

This project is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Program Description: To build and enhance tobacco use surveillance and research capacity in sub-Saharan Africa, the CDC Foundation supports CDC and other global partners to implement components of the Global Tobacco Surveillance System (GTSS). The GTSS enables sub-Saharan African countries to produce globally standardized tobacco use data and track key tobacco control measures among the adult and youth populations.
Funding Partners:
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Program Partners:
  • CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, Global Tobacco Control Branch
  • World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa
Program Location:
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Benin
  • Botswana
  • Congo
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Cameroon
  • Algeria
  • Ethiopia
  • Gabon
  • Ghana
  • Gambia
  • Guinea
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Madagascar
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Rwanda
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Senegal
  • Eswatini
  • Chad
  • Togo
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • South Africa
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe