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Meeting on Implementation of GHW on tobacco packs in Bangladesh

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National Heart Foundation, United Forum against Tobacco (UFAT), Anti-Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) and PROGGA jointly organized a meeting on 12th March 2016 at CIRDAP auditorium. Meeting was held to discuss about the implementation of “Pictorial Health Warning” on the packets of tobacco products within 19th March according to the existing tobacco control law and rules.

National Professor Brig (retd) Abdul Malik presided over the meeting. Mr. Mohammad Nasim MP and Honorable Minister, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was present as the chief guest. Mr. Abdul Matin Khasru MP, Mrs. Quazy Rosy MP, Mr. Abul Kalam Md Ahsanul Haque Chowdhury MP and Mrs. Kamrun Nahar Chowdhury MP were present in this meeting as special guests. Professor Abdul Awal Rizvi, Secretary General, National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh delivered the welcome speech in this meeting.

Mr. Abdul Matin Khasru MP said- cultivation, supply and demand of tobacco everything should be controlled to protect public health. Nobody has right to play with the health of our people. He requested to honorable health minister to circulate a notice immediately from Ministry of Health & Family Welfare as the pictorial health warning come out on tobacco packs within 19th March. Other MPs also express their commitment on this issue.

Mr. Mohammad Nasim said- “We will be able to make Bangladesh tobacco-free by 2040, as our government is committed to do it”. He also said that Government alone is not able to solve such a big problem like tobacco. NGOs, stake holders, civil society member, doctors, teachers, imams, journalists, media persons and guardians- all have to come forward and work altogether. Ministers from Ministry of Education, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Law, and Ministry of Industry should sit together to fix such a large problem. Pictorial health warnings have to come out within the deadline and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare will give a circular in these regards- Honorable Minister said.

A tobacco victim cancer patient was present in the meeting and explained his sufferings due to use of tobacco products. His anguish is really pathetic and beyond explanation. He is Mr. Mohammad Nayem and suffering from throat cancer. He lost his all in expenses of his treatment. And now became destitute.

Renowned doctors, researchers, senior editors from couple of print media and electronic media and members from anti-tobacco organizations were present in the meeting and shared their views. They expressed their urges to honorable minister and MPs to ensure the actualization of printing pictorial health warning on the tobacco packets in accordance with the government order for the tobacco companies within the set deadline.

Prof Dr Shoel Reza Chowdhury of National Heart Foundation and Coordinator of PROGGA Hasan Shahriar presented keynote papers at the programme. Zahirul Alam, Chief News Editor of NTV, anchored the meeting.