Exemplary work done by the Rajasthan government in tobacco control has attracted the attention of a joint mission of the UN inter-agency task force on prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, which is visiting Rajasthan next month.
In a letter to state's principal secretary, medical and health, WHO representative to India Dr Nata Menabde mentioned, "The main focus of the visit will be to create a forum for highlighting lessons learned in formulating multi-sectoral coordination for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and tobacco control and identify challenges in the prevention and control of NCDs at state level." The team of officials will visit the state on December 11.
The mission members will discuss with the state officials about the distinction of Rajasthan as the first state in India with a mandatory requirement for government job aspirants to file an undertaking for not using tobacco products in any form (smoking or chewing forms), declaration of all educational institutions in the state as tobacco-free institutions as per government of India guidelines and imposition of the highest rate of VAT on all tobacco products.
The team will comprise officials from WHO, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and the World Bank with participants from their headquarters, regional and country office.
The visit will be coordinated by the WHO country office for India in close collaboration with the ministry of health and family welfare and office of the UN resident coordinator in India. The efforts are being made to intensify fight against NCDs as it is currently leading cause of morbidity and mortality in India.
Nata pointed out in the letter, "In September 2011, heads of state and government adopted the political declaration of the high-level meeting on prevention and control of NCDs during the general assembly of UN. The declarations called upon WHO, as the lead UN specialized agency for health, and all other UN system agencies and international financial institutions to work together in a coordinated manner to support national efforts to prevent and control NCDs and mitigate their impacts."
Tobacco control and NCD nodal officer (state) Dr Sunil Singh said, "Rajasthan won two WHO's director general awards in two successive years for its efforts on tobacco control. We have banned gutkha and introduced Pehal, an online counseling for tobacco addict."
The UN inter agency task force (UNIATF), which will visit the state was established to coordinate the activities of the relevant UN funds, programmes and specialized agencies and other intergovernmental organizations to support realization of the commitments made in the political declaration. In particular, through implementation of the WHO global action plan on NCDs 2013-2020.
In this regard, a joint mission of the UNIATF is visiting India during December 8-12, 2014. The joint mission is intended to enhance the support of the UN agencies to the government of India to scale up the national multi-sectoral response to NCDs.
Courtesy: Times of India