On May 7 the American Cancer Society hosted a cancer stakeholder workshop in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Tanzania. This workshop provided a forum to transition the Society’s history and partnerships in Tanzania to future cancer control activities led by local stakeholders. It brought together 34 participants from health facilities, international organizations and nongovernmental organizations. The objectives of the workshop included sharing the national noncommunicable disease (NCD) strategy, sharing information and findings from various assessments and evaluations conducted in Tanzania by stakeholders, identifying strategies to improve coordination among the cancer sector stakeholders, and contributing to the finalization of the national cancer control plan. Speakers during the workshop included Dr. Joseph Mbatia, director, Noncommunicable Diseases; Loyce Pace, director, Regional Programs, American Cancer Society; Dr. Ali Mzige, Tanzania Public Health Association (TPHA); and Dr Elias J Muganyizi, Tanzania Palliative Care Association (TPCA), among others. As part of plans to move forward, five critical areas were identified and discussed in stakeholder workgroups: resource mobilization, education/awareness, networking/coordination, policy/legislation, and capacity building. Necessary action plans were aligned to each area to further support cancer control in Tanzania.
Students at the youth advocacy summit on tobacco control pose as part of the Number 6 campaign, which aims to remind the public that every 6 seconds one person dies in the world due to tobacco use.
The American Cancer Society co-facilitated a youth advocacy summit on tobacco control May 6-9 in Stockholm, Sweden, with SAMBA, a Swedish nongovernmental organization (NGO). The summit was part of a joint effort on the Dizza Tobak initiative, which encourages youth leaders to speak up on important tobacco prevention issues in their country, as they educate their peers and their political leaders. The training brought together 24 youth from different regions of Sweden and included various workshops and hands-on activities. It culminated with a public action in a busy central train station, where the students staged a "drop dead" event to bring attention to the 18 people who die every day in Sweden due to tobacco. American Cancer Society staff Johanna Ralston, vice president, Global Strategies, Global Health, and Sylvana Rochet-Belleri, international program manager, Global Health, served as facilitators during the event. Holly Aprea and Andy Berndt, consultants working with the American Cancer Society, provided participants their valuable youth advocacy expertise. This transatlantic collaboration is the second of its kind for the American Cancer Society, following a youth advocacy tobacco control initiative in North Africa that started in 2008.
The United Nations General Assembly agreed today to hold a Summit on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) involving heads of state in September 2011 to address the threat posed by NCDs to low- and middle-income countries. NCDs include diseases such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and chronic respiratory disease and are primarily caused by the risk factors of tobacco use, unhealthy diet, and lack of exercise. American Cancer Society Chief Executive Officer John R. Seffrin, PhD, along with the CEOs of the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association, wrote an opinion piece that appeared today on CNN.com urging the United States and other governments to vote in favor of holding the summit. The summit, voted on by the General Assembly today, will highlight the serious nature of the global epidemic of NCDs, which now cause 60 percent of all global deaths and are responsible for 8 million annual premature deaths (below the age of 60) in low- and middle-income countries. The summit will recognize that preventing further escalation of the NCD epidemic requires international solidarity and cooperation, and cross-government collaboration at a national level. The summit will bring together government representatives from both overseas aid donor countries and low- and middle-income countries with public health experts from around the world. They will discuss solutions to the growing danger posed by NCDs, and agree what action needs to be taken. Ensuring that major change results from the summit will require concerted effort in the lead-up to the event in order to agree to measurable outcomes and results. This could result in millions of lives being saved and a reversal of the damaging social and economic effects of NCDs.
Participants in the journalist workshop on tobacco control in Hanoi, Vietnam
The American Cancer Society conducted a journalist workshop on tobacco control for 28 journalists May 5-6 in Hanoi, Vietnam. The Tobacco Control Journalist Fellowship Program was supported by Atlantic Philanthropies, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, and VINACOSH, a Vietnamese tobacco control organization and partner of the American Cancer Society. The training began with a press conference sponsored by the World Lung Foundation, highlighting the success of its television tobacco control media campaign. This was followed by an advanced media training program. Tuyet Ha-Iaconis, Vietnam program manager, American Cancer Society, and her team developed the program to foster discussions between journalists and representatives of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), enabling them to share key information and messages that they in turn can provide to villages and provinces about the dangers of tobacco. Tobacco control experts in Vietnam participated in roundtable discussions with journalists on issues such as smoke-free areas, health warning labels, tobacco tax, and tobacco advertising. The two-day workshop included presentations by American Cancer Society staff Danny Ingram, chief staff officer, Strategic Initiatives, High Plains Division; and Evan Blecher, economist, International Tobacco Control Research. There was also a visit to the National Cancer Hospital in Hanoi, where participants were able to interact with cancer patients and their families. A team of media professionals helped to facilitate the training, including Vu Manh Cuong, deputy editor-in-chief, Lao Dong newspaper in Vietnam; Mary Cardaras, a former CNN producer; and Gita Pullapilly, a former US and global journalist. The 28 journalist fellows will continue to report on tobacco control issues in Vietnam and receive guidance and feedback from global health and tobacco control experts throughout the year.