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National seminar on 'Engaging Parliamentarians in Controlling Non-Communicable Disease (NCD)'

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01 November 2020

National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh and Shastho Shurokkha Foundation jointly organized a national seminar on 'Engaging Parliamentarians in Controlling Non-Communicable Disease (NCD)' on 1 November at the Westin Hotel, Dhaka.

Professor Dr. Habibe Millat MP presided over the seminar. The Speaker of National Parliament Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury MP graced the seminar virtually as the chief guest.

In her speech, she said, we must give utmost importance to the prevention of non-communicable diseases. For this, necessary laws and policies have to be formulated. Tobacco use is one of the reasons behind these diseases. Others, including women and children, are also affected by secondhand smoke. To protect public health, smoking should be stopped in public transport and public places. Strong tobacco control laws will play a role in reducing tobacco use.

At the seminar the President of the National Heart Foundation of Bangladesh, National Professor Brig. (Rtd.) Abdul Malik, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Gabriela Cuevas Barron, Ambassador of Japan Naoki Ito, WHO Representative Dr. Bardan Jung Rana, President of the Kidney Foundation of Bangladesh, Professor Harun-Ur-Rashid, Director General of DGHS, Prof. Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam, and Ms Vandana Shah, director of South Asia, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids joined virtually.

Dr. AT Nizam Uddin Ahmed, the Executive Director of Shastho Surokkha Foundation delivered a welcome speech at the seminar. Professor Sohel Reza Choudhury, Head of the Department of Epidemiology and Research at the National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute, presented the key note. In his speech, he highlighted the impact of non-communicable diseases on public health and the economy. He said public health-friendly laws and policies are needed to curb the growing risk of non-communicable diseases. Controlling tobacco use is one of the ways to prevent the growing risk of non-communicable diseases in Bangladesh. Therefore, the existing tobacco control law needs to be amended to strengthen tobacco control. It is also important to formulate policies on air pollution control, setting salt and trans-fat levels in industrial foods. At the same time, in order to prevent these diseases, it is necessary to raise awareness about adhering to a healthy lifestyle in one's life.

He said non-communicable diseases like heart disease and cancer were responsible for 67 per cent of the total deaths in Bangladesh at present. And tobacco alone is responsible for 19 percent of all deaths.

Number of MPs participated and delivered their valuable speech on NCD control. They mentioned tobacco control issues with due importance- particularly second hand smoking, smokeless tobacco, graphic health warning, TC law amendment and emphasized on formulation as well as implementation of relevant policies. They also mentioned the role of relevant stakeholders on these issues.

Professor Dr. Habibe Millat MP said that 22 percent of all deaths in the country are premature and non-communicable diseases like heart disease, cancer and kidney disease are responsible for this. Moreover, in the current COVID-19 epidemic, patients with NCDs are at more risk. Therefore, non-communicable diseases must be dealt seriously. It is also important to implement universal health coverage for the treatment of these expensive diseases.

Among the members of parliament present at the seminar were Dr. A.F.M. Ruhal Haque MP, Begum Meher Afroz Chumki MP, Mr. Kazi Nabil Ahmed MP, Ms. Shirin Akhter MP, Mr. Pir Fazlur Rahman MP, Dr. Syeda Zakia Noor MP, Ms. Aroma Dutta MP, Ms. Umme Kulsum Smriti MP, Mr. Nahid Izahar Khan MP, Ms. Aparajita Haque MP, Ms. Shirin Akhtar MP, Mr. Nahim Razzak MP, Ms. Syeda Rubina Akhter Mira MP and Ms. Adiba Anjum Mita MP.

The Daily Samakal, Channet 24 and RTV were the media partners. This seminar got huge media coverages in print, online and electronic media.