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Panaji: October 22, 2019

                                                                             Asvina   , 1941

Mission Tobacco Free Goa was launched at Goa Medical College (GMC), today. The State Health Ministry in collaboration with Cipla Health Ltd have embarked upon a unique drive aimed at eliminating tobacco associated health hazards in Goa. As part of Mission Tobacco Free Goa Bicholim Taluka and Colva Beach have been identified and prepared for the implementation of tobacco cessation interventions and work is being done towards declaring them Smoke Free as per World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. On the occasion, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Goa Health authorities and Cipla Health Ltd.

The Minister for Health, Shri Vishwajit Rane in a video message said that the authorities are doing their best to ensure Goa leads the way in becoming tobacco free. He hoped that the Mission would make Bicholim and Colva tobacco free and ultimately expand the Mission to cover the entire state.  

The Minister lauded the innovative Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and shared his expectations of reducing the impact of tobacco related mortality with the help of a combination of strategies aimed at avoiding initiation of tobacco by the non-users and cessation of tobacco use among current users.

Shri Rane said it is essential to provide tobacco cessation services to the current tobacco users with a mix of outreach community health camps, Primary Health Centre driven counselling centres and engaging the entire State in the tobacco free Mission.

Secretary for Health, Ms. Nila Mohanan IAS, stated that the state health authorities are committed to make Goa tobacco-free. She said that it is very essential to focus on the educational aspect to curb tobacco consumption. How much one knows and how well one know about the topic is important she said adding that the cessation of smoking involves momentarily victories and huge defeats. It is not easy to quit tobacco consumption. It requires medical and technical expertise too, said Ms Mohanan. She opined that ultimately it is the individual choice whether to smoke or not, but we have to encourage the individual to think differently and that is where the challenge lies.

Earlier, while delivering the welcome address, Director of Directorate of Health Services (DHS), Dr Jose D’Sa informed that part of the preparatory phase of the Mission, health care workers, doctors, health educators etc have been empowered and equipped with the latest information and strategies to make the Mission successful.

Brand ambassador for Tobacco Free Goa and noted singer, Ms Hema Sardesai, spoke on the need to investigate reasons why people get into the habit of tobacco consumption. She said it was important to go at the root causes to curb the prevalent of tobacco consumption.   

 The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cipla Health Ltd, Shri Shivam Puri said that it requires a scientific approach to quit smoking. It also requires efforts on the part of the individual. We hope the PPP that we have with the DHS can become a role model for other states to follow, he said.

DI/NB/ JA/CR/2019/905