The World Health Organization (WHO) of South East Asia Region has conferred the Regional Director’s Special Recognition Award to Guwahati’s Dr. Bhubaneswar Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI) for its effort towards tobacco control on World No Tobacco Day 2021.
BBCI is among five other health institutes in the South East Asia region to have been awarded the recognition.
The five other institutes include – National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences in Bangalore, National Committee on Tobacco Control of Indonesia, Paolophaholyothin Hospital in Thailand, National Heart Institute in New Delhi, and National Heart Foundation Hospital and Research Institute at Dhaka, Bangladesh as well.
It may be noted that the total population of South East Asia is around 200 crore and represents 11 countries. A separate WHO Regional Office for this region is located in the national capital, New Delhi.
BBCI has been in the forefront of tobacco control in North East India for the last 18 years, said Dr Amal Chandra Kataki, Director of the institute.
More than 1500 awareness camps have been conducted by BBCI on harms due to tobacco consumption among the general public across the North East India region.
It has also been running the Regional Tobacco Quit-line Services (RTQS) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India since 2018 (Toll Free No. 1800 1123 56). It is one of the four centers in India to have the tobacco quit-line services.
As part of Tobacco Free Educational Institute (TFEI) initiative, the institute also worked in local levels and advocated tobacco control in schools and educational institutes of the state.
According to Principal Investigator of RTQS Dr. Srabana Misra Bhagabaty, as many as 7.5 lakhs in-voice calls were received at the quit-line services and over 5 lakh counseling for tobacco cessation was provided to callers from the entire North East India, Odisha, and West Bengal.
Due to this, there has been a positive impact on the society with thousands of active tobacco users quitting tobacco leading to to better health among large number of people, Dr Bhagabaty informed.