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Stakeholders consultation: Coordinated actions stressed for tobacco control

By Bureau report
September 29, 2022

PESHAWAR: Stakeholders at a consultation on Wednesday committed to promoting a multi-sectoral approach and coordinated actions for sustainable tobacco control and a smoke-free environment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Inter-departmental collaboration and coordinated actions by government and non-government stakeholders were emphasized as a critical strategy for tobacco control, during the consultation organised by Blue Veins, a non-governmental organization, said a press release.

The consultation was organised with the collaboration of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Tobacco Control Cell. The speakers and participants called for interactive dialogue, inclusive engagement and sensitization among the stakeholders for effective integration of tobacco control into broader health and development agendas to promote a smoke-free environment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Dr Nek Dad Afridi, Director, Public Health, Directorate General of the Health Services KP said: “Promoting tobacco-free sectoral policies is a proven way to invest in the health of the nation and protect the environment hazards. “ He said the provincial roadmap for tobacco control activities is an initiative of the Health Department using innovative and targeted interventions, aligning the strategy of WHO, in high-priority areas of sustainable tobacco control.

“Partnering with the non-governmental stakeholders we are aiming to bring about a set of outcomes in effective implementation of the roadmap to tobacco control and promoting smoke-free environment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” added the official.

Additional Assistant Commissioner Town III Syeda Zainab Naqvi said: “Monitoring activities play an important role in the enforcement and implementation of the tobacco control measure.” She said the district administration was actively involved in monitoring the public places for enforcement, and we assure our full support to fructify the integration of roadmap into all existing policies for effective implementation.

Muhammad Ajmal Shah, Provincial Coordinator, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Tobacco Control Cell, said: “Tobacco Control Cell is effectively and actively coordinating with provincial and district governments to make public places smoke-free”.

He said the tobacco control and WHOs’ Framework Convention on Tobacco Control was included in global development goals, and to achieve productive results for targeted SDG at the national and provincial level, huge efforts were required by all advocates of tobacco control. Qamar Naseem, Programme Manager, Blue Veins, said: “A firm political commitment and inter-sectoral coordination between government and non-government agencies is of paramount importance to implement effective tobacco control programmes”.

He said the KP government in partnership with civil society must continue to act decisively against the tobacco spread. “The implementation and monitoring of smoke-free policies must be synergized with the tobacco control roadmap to get effective results,” he added.