The five-day India Tobacco Control Leadership Program, helmed by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH), today ended with organisers hoping that its participants would emerge as "ambassadors of change" in combating the tobacco menace.
Stephen Tamplin, Associate Scientist, Institute for Global Tobacco Control at the JHSPH, said about 70 participants successfully completed the program and received the certificates.
"A number of panel discussions were held over the five days, many senior officials from the Health Ministry, experts from WHO, and Paris-based International Union against Lung Disease and Tuberculosis (The Union), among others interacted with the participants.
The program, hosted at a resort in South Goa's Majorda village, about 30 km from here, had started on August 5. Participants included senior officials from the Health Ministry, Labour Ministry, Finance Ministry, besides other stakeholders.
"This was the second leadership programme conducted in India. The first program was held in 2012 in Delhi. About a decade ago, we had started the global leadership programme, which takes place at the Johns Hopkins University at Baltimore. Next we move to Indonesia for the South Asia Tobacco Control Leadership Program in November," Tamplin told PTI.
This would be the first such leadership program to be conducted for the South Asian region as a whole, though for Indonesia we already have held this program before, he said.
"The South Asia Tobacco Control Leadership Program will see participants mainly from Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. There would be representatives from Cambodia, Laos, Timor Leste and Nepal as well. The date would be around November 5-10, he said.
State Consultant for National Tobacco Control Programme in Dadra & Nagar Haveli's, Madhusudan Samal, said, the program has given me a better perspective about the mission of tobacco control.
Different departments and ministries should work in coordination and better energy to effectively implement the policies for tobacco control, he said.
The program also sought to strengthen skills in policy intervention development and implementation and strategic communication; and engage with and enhance collaboration and networking among a wide range of partners in the tobacco control movement, Tamplin added.
Over 11 per cent of 6.4 million deaths worldwide was caused by smoking in 2015 and 52.2 per cent of them took place in China, India, the US, and Russia, according to the estimates in the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study published in medical journal The Lancet, last year.
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