Dr. Upendra Bhojani was invited to be a member of a Technical Advisory Panel for the South Asian Regional Consortium Centre for Combating Tobacco (SARC-CCT), Colombo. Other members of the Technical Advisory Panel include Dr. Rana J Singh, Prof. Stella Bialous, Dr. Tara Singh Bam and Dr. Mary Assunta.
The SARC-CCT Technical Advisory Panel represents the regional and international experts who work in the tobacco control field, who are able to help advise and offer guidance to the SARC-CCT. This consortium has representatives from the South Asian states, including Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, India & Sri Lanka. The consortium was first set up and inaugurated in July 2019 as a tobacco observatory, the main purpose of which is to monitor tobacco industry activities and implementation of FCTC Article 5.3 in the region of South Asia. The first meeting of the consortium was held on 30th July 2020 and is scheduled to occur once in three months.
In a project commissioned by the State Anti-Tobacco Cell (Dept Health and Family Welfare Services, GOK), Riddhi and Upendra, researchers at the DEEP project at IPH, with the help of intern Neema Joseph, historically mapped and analyzed various tobacco-related litigations in Karnataka high court in order to identify the stakeholders as well as common laws/arguments used by these stakeholders in shaping tobacco regulations in Karnataka. The project sought to answer two main questions:
1. What have been the legislations and major arguments used by petitioners in litigations challenging tobacco control regulations in Karnataka?
2. Who have been the stakeholders engaged directly in litigations related to tobacco in Karnataka?
Upon completion of the study, we presented this work to members of the Tobacco Control Alliance in a meeting organized by the department on 26th July 2020 and later submitted a report of the study physically to the Deputy Director, Dr. Selvaraj who also leads the tobacco control initiative. We discussed a possible follow-up to the study, centred around convening of lawyers and select petitioners, and studying a few key litigations in Karnataka. We believe such insights can help the state government pre-empt legal challenges as well as develop an effective stakeholder-specific response to legal challenges. The team hopes to write and publish a paper based on this work.
A team from the Chronic Health Conditions and Public Policies cluster at IPH had undertaken a consultancy project with Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation and Salaam Bombay Foundation. This project involved the evaluation of the LifeFirst program, a standardized tobacco- and supari- cessation program conceived and implemented by the Salaam Bombay Foundation and Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation since 2012. The Program targets students studying in 7th to 9th grades in corporation (local government) funded/managed schools in Mumbai city.
The study design, a prospective quasi-experimental design, was conceptualised by researchers Upendra and Pragati at IPH and the program was implemented by the team in Mumbai. The analysis of the study data was led by Amiti with the support of Upendra and Pragati and we found that the program was indeed effective, where the program not only reduced the rates of tobacco and supari use significantly, but also served as a protective factor, protecting against new uptake of tobacco and supari use. This is an important finding: schools are an excellent site for health promotion activities but are rarely used as much as they should and furthermore, such school programs are rarely evaluated for their effectiveness. This collaborative study delivers on both, the health promotion program and the evaluation of this program. The present consultancy was closed with the completion of the project and submission of the final report. We look forward to further collaboration with the team at Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation & Salaam Bombay Foundation.
On May 29th, 2020 the National Summit was held virtually, the main theme was on “Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use” , and organised “by Resource Centre for Tobacco Control (E-RCTC), PGIMER Chandigarh in collaboration with Strategic Institute of Public Health Education and Research (SIPHER), Chandigarh and The Union South-East Asia (The Union).” The summit (schedule accessible here) was intended to train public health professionals and tobacco control practitioners on the ways in which the tobacco industry seeks to influence the youth; and the strategies and tactics that can be applied to keep the tobacco industry in check.
Dr. Upendra Bhojani was invited to be a participant in the plenary session on the above theme at the Summit and the recording can be accessed here.
The IPH Knowledge Management Committee invites you to attend the screening of “Health in All and the Tribal Population in South India.” directed by professional filmmaker Lode Desmet. The film was made along with public health researchers at IPH, Bangalore and ITM, Antwerp and was officially released at the Bringing Evidence into Public Health Policy (EPHP) conference in Bangalore in July 2016.
Collaborative research with tribal populations in South India confirmed and unraveled social exclusion as a major obstacle to health and well-being. The documentary makes a case for a ‘Health in All’ approach, starting from the realities and needs, voiced by members of tribal communities.
The screening will be followed by a discussion. You are invited to join the film screening in person or over Zoom, using the link below: https://zoom.us/j/701662546
The director at IPH, Dr. Upendra Bhojani, gave a public lecture at IIHS in the ‘Publics’ lecture series. The talk was on Dr. Bhojani’s long standing work on the role of local health systems in poor urban neighbourhoods in Bangalore. The talk emphasised that there is an urgent need to strengthen local health systems to provide affordable and quality care to a large number of people, particularly to the urban poor, living with chronic conditions. It unpacked the complex dynamics of local health system. Dr. Bhojani also highlighted the need to go beyond just improving the health systems – to further address other social determinants of chronic conditions such as poverty, age- and gender-based social norms, family structure, and inadequate social care provision.
A video recording of the talk can be watched here.