Bangladesh Network for NCD Control & Prevention

A delegation of senior physicians and public health experts of Bangladesh Network for NCD Control and Prevention (BNNCP) visited Ms. Zuena Aziz, Principal Coordinator, SDG Affairs, Prime Minister's Office on 09 November 2020. The meeting was held at her office on 09 November2020.

Delegates discussed on controlling Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) and amendment of existing Tobacco Control Law to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially the goal 3 by 2030. They emphasized on:

3.4 By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being.

3.A Strengthen the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in all countries, as appropriate.

Within the discussion, delegates highlighted the current situation of NCDs in Bangladesh and its economic impact. Currently NCDs such as cardiovascular disease and cancer are responsible for 67 percent of the total deaths in Bangladesh, they said. And tobacco alone is responsible for 19 percent of all deaths. The treatment of these diseases is expensive, and in many cases, it is not possible to get a complete recovery once anyone is infected. As a result, the productivity of the affected person is reduced, which has a negative impact on the family and the economy of the country.

They said, public health-friendly laws and policies are needed to curb the growing risk of NCDs. Controlling tobacco use is one of the best ways to prevent the growing risk of NCDs in Bangladesh. In the existing tobacco control law, there are a couple of ambiguities and some important issues are not addressed properly. In addition, it is not fully compliant with WHO-FCTC. Moreover, we have national commitment from Honorable Prime Minister (in her speech in the South Asian Speaker’s Summit 2016) as “my government will take all possible measures for effective implementation of existing tobacco control laws and in turn we will make our laws fully compliant with FCTC in line with our national priorities to achieve SDGs.” Therefore, this law needs to be amended to strengthen tobacco control. The amendment must include a ban on DSA in public places and public transports, ban on product display at POS, CSR of TIs, sale of loose tobacco products, and e-cigarette and introducing standard packaging & increasing the size of GHW on packages of tobacco products.

It is also important to formulate policies to standardize salt and trans-fat levels in industrially produced foods. At the same time, to prevent these diseases, it is necessary to raise awareness about adhering to a healthy lifestyle in one's personal life.

Ms. Zuena Aziz has given a great patience hearing and involved her officials to keep notes on the discussion. She said appropriate steps would be taken to prevent NCDs. She assured that necessary assistance would be provided to expedite the process of amending the existing Tobacco Control Law. She also proposed to provide support to her office to develop a bridge with the non-communicable disease wing of DHGS as the SDG 3.4 can be addressed strongly.

The BNNCP delegation includes Professor Golam Mohiuddin Faruque, Project Director, Bangladesh Cancer Society; Professor Abdullah Al Shafi Majumder, Secretary General, Bangladesh Cardiac Society and Professor Sohel Reza Choudhury, Head of the Department of epidemiology and Research, National Heart Foundation Hospital & Research Institute.

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