First Regional Civil Society Consultation on Non-Communicable Diseases for the Northern Region
The First Regional Civil Society Consultation on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), for the Northern Region, was organized by Healthy India Alliance in collaboration with Generation Saviour Association and The Union South East Asia in Mohali, Punjab on November 22, 2017. The Consultation brought together multi-disciplinary Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from in and around Mohali to discuss the role of CSOs in NCD prevention and control. Resource persons included representative from the Department of Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of Punjab, Haryana and Union Territory of Chandigarh, GSA, The Union South East Asia, HRIDAY and PGIMER, Chandigarh.
Healthy India Alliance is a coalition of multi-sectoral, pan-India CSOs working to address NCDs by generating awareness, building capacity, empowering CSOs and people living with NCDs. HIA supports strengthening of health promoting norms and policies, addressing the key modifiable risk factors for NCDs – tobacco use; alcohol use; unhealthy diet; inadequate physical activity and even environment-related risk factors. The focus of HIA’s work is around a gamut of serious NCDs including, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases and mental health conditions.
The workshop is inaugurated by Dr. G B Singh, Deputy Director (NCD), Govt. of Punjab. During his session he elaborated the initiatives taken by Department of Health and Family Welfare, Punjab. Dr. J S Thakur, Professor from School of Public Health, PGIMER takes the technical session and said there are 22 diseases which included in NCDs. In India 60 percents are occurred due to NCDs that are preventable he added. Dr. Kajal, Deputy Director (NCD), Govt. of Haryana put light on the steps taken by Govt. of Haryana for NCDs control. Dr. R J Singh, Regional Deputy Director from The Union said that civil societies can play an important role to create awareness on control NCDs among masses. The aim of the workshop is to involve stakeholders from the health and non-health sectors in order to develop a strong CSO movement which can work on inter-linkages among development, economics, environment, health and many more important sectors. Tobacco Control is an integral part of NCDs control said Dr. Rakesh Gupta, Deputy Director and Chief Chemical Examiner. 90% oral cancers are due to use of tobacco and for tobacco control passion is most important factor. Ms. Prachi Kathuria, Project Officer, HRIDAY said civil societies from North Region must take some initiatives for NCDs control. In India, NCDs account for a staggering 62% of all deaths. The country stands to lose $4.58 trillion before 2030 due to NCDs and mental health conditions. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India (MoHFW, GoI) has notified 10 national targets to reduce the burden of NCDs, with the overall target aiming to reduce pre-mature deaths from NCDs by 25% by the year 2025 she added on.
Ms. Opinder Preet Kaur, President, GSA said that to save future generation from NCDs knowledge must impart from the childhood and necessitate to starts the school level Interventation. She said that CSOs not only play an important part in the progressing towards the national NCD targets and the SDGs, but are also important link in the effective implementation of the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) at the state and district level. Addressing India’s vast NCD burden is particularly challenging. Although NCDs are themselves linked to health, however, the causes and solutions are deeply rooted in the non-health/development sectors said Dr. Sonu Goel from PGIMER. Smt. Surjit Kaur, Vice President, GSA thanks all the participants to spare their precious time for this noble cause.
Factsheets: Comprehensive Assessment of COTPA 2003 in 15 selected Districts of Punjab
According to GATS (Global Adult Tobacco Survey, India, 2009-10) India is 274.9 million, with 163.7 million users of only smokeless tobacco, 68.9 million only smokers, and 42.3 million users of both smoking and smokeless tobacco. Ironically 5500 people mainly children are picking up this habit of tobacco daily. (Government of India, 2010a). Currently around 2500 people are dying every day in India due to tobacco and its consequences. Every year nearly 8–9 lakh people die due to diseases related to tobacco use in India.
Punjab has 22 districts with approximately 27.74 million people living here. Considering the population of 2.75 Crores, 33 lakh population in Punjab uses tobacco in some form or the other. About 48 persons of Punjab die every day due to tobacco use (Government of India, 2010a; Government of India, 2010b).
To assess and measure level of compliance to all major sections of COTPA, a robust survey using scientific protocols was instituted by Generation Saviour Association and conducted by School of Public Health, PGIMER, Chandigarh in collaboration with Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Punjab and The Union South-East Asia (The Union) in the year of 2016 - 2017 in 15 districts of Punjab. The survey covered both urban and rural areas of these districts. Out of 15 districts s districts were high COTPA compliant with compliance of Section 4, 5, 6a, 6b and 7,8,9 being more than 75% compliance with respect to mean of major compliance indicators. It is worth highlighting that after the extensive awareness drives by The Association from 2015 to 2017 six districts namely Hoshiarpur, Taran Tarn, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mansa, Sri Muktsar Sahib and Faridkot had a compliance of perfect 100% to Section 5. To emphasize key findings of the study concisely facts-sheets are being prepared and shared.
Celebration of World No Tobacco Day, 2017
'World No Tobacco Day' observance brings worldwide awareness to the health risks associated with tobacco use, and reinforces the importance of effective strategies to reduce tobacco. The day is further intended to draw attention to the widespread prevalence of tobacco use and to negative health effects, which currently lead to nearly 6 million deaths each year worldwide, including 600,000 of which are the results of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. A large numbers of global organizations and civil societies involved in this campaign such as state governments, public health organizations and etc organizes various public awareness programmes locally. For effectively celebrating the World no Tobacco Day all over the world, WHO selects a special theme every year as central component in order to distribute a global message to the people for more awareness. On the occasion of World No Tobacco Day-2017 WHO selects the theme of ‘Tobacco – a threat to development’. To spread this message in the society Generation Saviour Association celebrated World No Tobacco Day 2017 at Pracheen Kala Kendra, Sector 71, SAS Nagar Mohali. Sh. A S Chatha, IAS, Former Chief Secretary, Govt of Punjab graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. S. Manjit Singh Sethi, Deputy Mayor, Municipal Corporation, Mohali, S. Sarabjit Singh, Municipal Councillor, Mohali, Dr. Sonu Goel, Assistant Professor, School of Public Health, PGIMER and Dr. Rakesh Gupta, Deputy Director (NCD), Department of Health and Family Welfare, Punjab were also present on the occasion. On the occasion the 21st Annual Souvenir of the association was released along with the fact sheet of High COTPA compliant districts. This study is conducted by School of Public Health, PGIMER, Chandigarh instituted by the association. Prizes were distributed to the winners of the various competitions held by the GSA during the year. Also a special appreciation award given to those who had quit tobacco use recently. On the occasion variety of cultural events are presented. In her speech on World No Tobacco Day Ms. Opinder Preet Kaur Gill, President of the GSA highlighted the achievements made by the association in all the 22 districts of Punjab and also said that in the near future the association is going to spread its anti tobacco activities in Haryana also. She in strong words appealed to the society to wake up and join the fight against tobacco consumption. On focusing the drugs issue in Punjab she said that drugs can’t be eliminate from the society until the civilian didn’t support and participate Governments anti drugs activities. She also appealed that parents should take care of the children right from the childhood. She also laid stress that we should say no to tobacco; take care about our health; try to reduce poverty and to promote development of every session of the society which is also the theme of World Health Organization on World No Tobacco Day, 2017. The audience took a pledge not to use tobacco himself but also advise others not to use it; and help tobacco users in quitting.
Steps towards be Haryana a ‘Tobacco Free State’
According to Global Adult Tobacco Survey, 2009-10 23.7% adults in Haryana using tobacco in
any form and among them 22.7% are daily tobacco users. Average age of daily initiation of
tobacco use in the state is 18.5 years in adults (18.4 years in males and 22.7 years in females).
Additional 70.2% of adults are exposed to second-hand smoke at home and nearly 53% of adults
are exposed to second-hand smoke in public places. Its neighboring States Punjab & Himachal
Pardesh is performing very well in the implementation of tobacco control policies. UT
Chandigarh the capital of Punjab and Haryana was declared as Tobacco Smoke Free. All 22
districts of Punjab and 12 districts of Himachal Pardesh were already declared as Tobacco
Smoke Free and now they moving forward to get the status of Tobacco Free State. On the other
hand, none of districts in Haryana even declared as Tobacco Smoke Free. It will be great threat
for the sustainability of tobacco control policies of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh if their
neighboring State is highly vulnerable. Therefore to establish and strengthen a Tobacco Control
framework in the State of Haryana through sensitization of political and administrative
leadership; public education; capacity building of enforcers; establishing and implementing an
enforcement mechanism for COTPA and its related notifications the Association started
working. Various advocacy meetings have been conducted with high level officials to bring them
on the same platform. Praising the efforts National Health Mission has issued a letter to all
Deputy Commissioner and Civil Surgeons to extend full support to the Association in their
respective districts. On the directions and guidance of Director Health Services a baseline survey
has been conducted in Ambala district to check the compliance of Section 6b of COTPA, 2003.
A State level sensitization workshop has been conducted for high level officials and other
stakeholder for the planning of effective implementation of tobacco control policies. To bring
tobacco control activities in advance stage a strategic roadmap has been prepared. The
association also conducted five sensitization workshops in Ambala, Kurukshetra and Panchkula
for high level officials, civil societies, media partners and other important stakeholders in
collaboration with National Health Mission, Department of Health and Family Welfare, State
Tobacco Control Cell, Haryana.
Tobacco Smoke Free Homes
According to Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2009-2010, 34.6% population in India is
consuming tobacco and out of them 14% (110.2 Millions) are smokers. Five out of ten (52.3%)
are exposed to second hand smoke at home and 29.0% at public places. According to Global
Youth Tobacco Survey, 2009-10 (GYTS), 21.9% of students are exposed to Second Hand Smoke
at their homes. The concept of “Smoke free Homes” (SFH) is to formulate the rule and moral
ethics to protect the vulnerable peoples from the second hand smoke (SHS) at homes. According
to the WHO in India 10% out of total deaths every by tobacco are due to the exposure of second-
hand smoke. Which is 80,000 to 1, 00,000 deaths per year. Tendency of smoking is declining at
workplaces due to strict action taken by the Government and public awareness activities but still
the most vulnerable place for the SHS exposure is Homes. Therefore, by declaring smoke free
home large number of innocent lives can be saved from SHS exposure. The concept of Smoke
Free Home is purely based on creating awareness among residents about SHS and self
declaration of their residence as ‘Smoke Free Home’. Generation Saviour Association started a
campaign to declare residential multi story buildings, apartments, colonies etc. by conducting
awareness meetings with the President, Secretary; workshops & camps for the residents and
workers. After the sensitization large numbers of residential societies are declared as Tobacco
Smoke Free Homes by their Presidents, Secretaries and residents. In support of the campaign an
advocacy meeting has been held with Secretary cum Labour Commissioner, Punjab and as the
result of it a DO letter issued to declare all constructed and under construction societies, colonies
as Tobacco Smoke Free Buildings. Highlighting the risk of Second Hand Exposure Principal
Secretary Health Ms. Anjali Bhawra, IAS also wrote a DO letter to Additional Chief Secretary
(Housing and Urban Development, Punjab) Ms. Vini Mahajan, IAS for the declaration of
existing and upcoming societies under PUDA, GMADA and GLADA as Tobacco Free.