Marthelise Eersel with Scott Cowen

Tulane University President Scott Cowen presents
Marthelise Eersel Senior Leader in Global Health
award at the school’s Centennial Celebration in
November 2012.

(Photo by Rick Olivier)

Alumna Marthelise Eersel honored for tobacco control contributions

May 31, 2013 was World No Tobacco day, and SPHTM alumna Marthelise Eersel, director of health of Suriname, was honored by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) for her contributions to advancing tobacco control. World No Tobacco Day calls attention to the harmful effects of tobacco use and promotes public health measures aimed at reducing its consumption and exposure to secondhand smoke.

In Suriname, Eersel has demonstrated extraordinary leadership and dedication to promoting the highest level of health for the population through a diligent effort to implement the provisions of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), since the country’s ratification of the treaty in 2008.

In February of this year, Suriname’s National Assembly unanimously approved a new tobacco control law banning tobacco smoke in all closed public spaces, indoor workplaces, and some outside public spaces, and prohibits all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. This new law, brought to fruition by Eersel’s ministry, makes Suriname the first country in the Caribbean Community to achieve such a high level of tobacco control.

Earlier in May, Suriname was one of 12 countries elected to become members of the WHO Executive Board. Eersel is Suriname’s representative. The main functions of the board are to give effect to the decisions and polices of the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO, to advise it, and generally to facilitate its work.

Eersel was the recipient of the SPHTM’s Senior Leader in Global Health award at the school’s Centennial Celebration in November 2012. She received her master of science in public health degree in biostatistics/epidemiology from the school in 1989.

In addition to her achievements in tobacco reduction in Suriname, Eersel has made numerous public health contributions to the country including developing both the National Epidemiological Surveillance System and the National Health Management System. She was also awarded the 2010 Malaria Champion of the American Continent by PAHO.


June 3, 2013


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