FCTC Article 5.3, an international covenant, emphasizes the protection of tobacco control policies. The Department of Health is playing a vital role in implementing the steps taken to strengthen the immune system of the people of the state and to develop the health system. To accelerate infectious disease and tobacco control programs the officials of the Department of Health need to have a clear and acceptable code of conduct. 5 October, 2020 at 2:00 pm the speakers expressed their views at an exchange meeting titled 'Preparation of Code of Conduct for Implementation of FCTC Article 5.3’ in the conference room of the new building of the Department of Health. The meeting was jointly organized by the Department of Health and Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust.
Dr. Abdul Basar Mohammad Khurshid Alam (Director General, Department of Health) was present as the Chief Guest at the seminar presided over by Dr. Md. Habibur Rahman (Director, Non-Communicable Disease Control Program, Department of Health). Also present as distinguished guests were Prof. Dr. Nasima Sultana (Additional Director General, Admin, Department of Health), Prof. Dr. Mirzadi Sebrina Flora (Additional Director General, Planning and Development, Department of Health), Syed Mahbubul Alam (Technical Advisor, The Union). Syeda Ananya Rahman (Program Manager, WBB Trust) presented an Article at the seminar conducted by Dr. SM Mustafizur Rahman (Deputy Program Manager, Department of Health). Gaus Pierre (Director, WBB Trust) delivered the welcome address.
In the main Article, Syeda Ananya Rahman said, "We have come a long way in tobacco control." The country has enacted a number of important laws and policies on tobacco control and their protection is very important. As a result of the intervention of the companies, the implementation of the policies achieved so far has been slow. As a signatory to the International Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), Article 5.3 requires that steps be taken to keep tobacco companies free from the influence of tobacco companies in all areas of public health, including tobacco control.
Dr. Md. Habibur Rahman said that the Govt. of Bangladesh has given utmost importance to the prevention of diseases in the development of public health. The country has already taken some exemplary steps in tobacco control as part of strengthening the immune system. Individuals and organizations need to take concerted action to get rid of tobacco.
Dr. Abul Basar Mohammad Khurshid Alam said that tobacco use is responsible for heart disease, cancer, heart attack, stroke and various long-term diseases of the lungs. We have to work with the importance of prevention of these diseases. The Department of Health is continuously working to control non-communicable diseases in Bangladesh. The ongoing program of the government in controlling non-communicable diseases including tobacco control needs to be made more dynamic.
Dr. Nasima Sultana said the government is working to make the country tobacco free. The issue of tobacco control needs to be included in all official forms and citizen charters. It is important for officials involved in public health services to take steps to control tobacco. The message can be given by giving priority to non-smokers and discouraging smokers in job circulars in the Department of Health.
Adv. Syed Mahbubul Alam said tobacco companies are organizing various programs including social responsibility activities involving government officials. Besides, they are spreading their names in the media by violating the tobacco control laws. The main purpose of all these activities of the tobacco company is to promote their products and influence the policy makers. On the need to protect tobacco control it is important to formulate a code of conduct for Govt. officials in accordance with the FCTC Article 5.3.
Nasir Uddin Sheikh (Country Manager, Vital Strategies), Mahbubus Sobahan (Program Officer, Heart Foundation) also expressed their opinion in the open discussion session. Also present on the occasion were Sagufta Sultana (Project Coordinator, Aid Foundation), AKM Maqsood (Executive Director, Gram Bangla Development Committee), Aminul Islam Bakul (Advisor, DAS ), Adut Rahman Emon (Officer, Dhaka Ahsania Mission), Farhana Zaman Liza (Program Manager, Tobacco Control Research Cell) and others.