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Meeting of UFAT delegation with honorable Secretary (Health Services Division), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare

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A delegation of United Forum Against Tobacco (UFAT) met with Mr. Md. Serajul Huq Khan, secretary, Health Services Division, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh on 09 May 2017 at Bangladesh Secretariat.

In this meeting UFAT delegation appraised him about the current situation of tobacco burden and control in Bangladesh. They also revealed that, United Form Against Tobacco (UFAT) is the network of eminent physicians from five health professional organizations as, Association of Physicians of Bangladesh (APB), Bangladesh Cancer Society (BCS), Bangladesh Society of Medicine (BSM), Bangladesh Lung Foundation (BLF), and National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh (NHFB). Since 2010 UFAT has been conducting various programs and engaging physicians in tobacco control activities with a view to fight tobacco menace in Bangladesh. In addition, UFAT has been providing support to the government in enacting and implementation of the tobacco control law, rules and other relevant matters.

UFAT delegation urged to the secretary for the faster adoption and implementation of tobacco control policies which are currently under discussion in the relevant ministries. They also emphasized on taking a National Tobacco Control Program that is very important in achieving the national target set by Honorable Prime Minister- to make Bangladesh Tobacco Free by 2040. They discussed that National tobacco Control Cell (NTCC) is currently conducting their activities supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies through Vital Strategies (a sister organization of The Union). But it would be a great initiative if Ministry of Health & Family Welfare allocate budget from the government for NTCC considering the public health and public interest. Finally a set of specific written recommendations on tobacco control issues has been submitted before the secretary.

The secretary listened the discussions with due importance and he noted. He appreciated the tobacco control activities being done in Bangladesh by UFAT and other anti-tobacco organizations. He said that tobacco control is very important issue for protecting public health. He will investigate the current situation of draft policies and the funding issue of NTCC- he said.

UFAT delegation was comprising with- Professor Golam Mohiuddin Faruque, Joint Secretary General, Bangladesh Cancer Society; Professor M. A Rashid, Director, Medical Education & Health Manpower Development, The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS); Professor AKM Mosharraf Hossain, Bangladesh Society of Medicine; Professor Sohel Reza Choudhury, Head of the Department, Epidemiology & Research, National Heart Foundation Hospital & Research Institute and Dr. Mahfuzur Rahman Bhuiyan, Grants Manager, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK), Bangladesh.