Amiti Varma from the DEEP project presented a paper on “Situating tobacco in health policy: Using parliament as an instrument of accountability” at the 6th Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (8 – 12 November, 2020). She presented findings from an analysis of two decades of tobacco-related questions in Indian parliament. This is part of a broader project (DEEP) that is also looking at parliamentary questions as one of the ways of understanding public policy towards tobacco.
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.
Download the Report – Here
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.
1.5 lakh lives are lost every year and many more are debilitated on Indian roads due to road crashes. This causes the families of victims with immense economic hardship and emotional trauma. According to the WHO reports, road crashes are one of the leading cause of deaths among the youth between the ages of 5-29 in India and worldwide.
To make our roads safe for all road users and to reduce the crash rates, every year “National Road Safety Week” is observed throughout the country. The focus of the activities of this week is to create more awareness among road users about the road safety and to emphasize good road using practices.
To observe this year’s 31st National Road Safety Week, Institute of Public Health in association with HKBK Group of institutions and Indian Degree College under banner of Safer roads Bengaluru initiative organised a bunch of activities from 14th to 17th of Jan 2020 at our selected stretch of road in Bengaluru. Signature campaign #IResolve4RoadSafety, Quiz on road safety for public and college students, Human chains at major junctions are the main activities among all other activities.
We were at all major junctions of the selected stretch of road from Hebbal to K R Puram throughout the Road Safety Week. A signature wall with student volunteers was present at all the junctions seeking public commitment for road safety. Around 3000 people committed for safer road usage through signing on our campaign wall.
Quiz on road safety witnessed more than 5000 participation. Winners of the quiz were awarded with a ISI marked 2-wheeler helmets by #SaferroadsBLR initiative. We also engaged people through our social media platform Facebook and twitter for the broader reach.