On January 18, 2024, an advocacy network called “Bangladesh University Teachers for Effective Tobacco Control (BUTETC)” was officially launched by Unnayan Shamannay. Unnayan Shamannay has been conducting policy advocacy activities for more than a decade, focusing on the formulation and implementation of effective tobacco control laws. In this context, a network has been established with teachers, comprising college and university faculty. This network is primarily engaged in advocacy with high-level policymakers on tobacco control, undertaking public initiatives with students, writing articles for public awareness, and providing advice and guidance on all anti-tobacco research.
Emeritus Professor at Dhaka University, Dr. Atiur Rahman, will serve as the chairman of this network, and Dr. Taiabur Rahman, Professor of Development Studies at Dhaka University, will work as the member secretary. At the onset of this forum’s discussion, Dr. Atiur Rahman stated that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently drafted amendments to the Tobacco Use Control Act in alignment with the FCTC of the World Health Organization. When Unnayan Shamannay and other anti-tobacco organizations urged policymakers at various ministerial levels to expedite the draft amendment’s finalization, they responded positively. Dr. Rahman expressed, “We will advocate for the finalization of the draft proposal to strengthen the Tobacco Control Act in 2024.” The network aims to engage university teachers as the decisive opinion leaders, aspiring to establish itself as a network of anti-tobacco educators. Dr. Rahman hopes BUTETC playing an effective role in research and policy advocacy for eradicating tobacco from Bangladesh in the coming days.
Network member secretary Professor Dr. Taiabur Rahman stated, “Through stakeholder mapping, we will advocate at all government levels, starting from the Ministry of Health, and engage youth and student forums in implementing the anti-tobacco movement.”
Dr. Tania Haque, Professor of the Women and Gender Studies Department at Dhaka University, believes, “Different educational institutions associated with this network should create mass awareness through anti-tobacco digital banners and posters.”
” If the sale of single stick cigarette is banned through the law, it will be possible to prevent young people from smoking initiation,” said the Assistant Professor of the Institute of Health Economics, Dr. Suzanna Karim.
Also, today’s network formation and orientation meeting saw the participation and contributions of the following individuals in the discussion, namely, Dr. Syed Abdul Hamid, Professor, Institute of Health Economics, University of Dhaka; Professor Dr. Kazi Maruful Islam, Department of Development Studies, University of Dhaka; Dr. Sabbir Ahmed, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Dhaka; Dr. KM Tarikul Islam, Associate Professor, Department of Neurosurgery, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University; SM Arifuzzaman, Professor, Canadian University of Bangladesh; A. B. M. Najmus Sakib, Assistant Professor, Department of Criminology, University of Dhaka; Professor Dr. Golam Ahmed Faruqui, Dean, Faculty of Business and Management, Faculty of Social Sciences and Liberal Arts, UCSI University; Subarna Sarker, Assistant Professor, Education Discipline, School of Education, Khulna University; Dr. Md. Adnan Rahman, Dean, Department of Business Administration, Trust University Barisal; Abu Zafar Ahmed Mukul, Associate Professor, Agricultural Finance and Management, Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University; Azhar Uddin Bhuiyan, Department of Law, University of Dhaka. Additionally, respected teachers from Eden Women’s College, Tejgaon College, Dhaka College, University Women’s Federation College, and Ataur Rahman, Senior Policy Advisor, CTFK, were also present in the discussion.
At the beginning of this orientation program, Abdullah Nadvi, Research Director at Unnayan Shamannay, presented on the six important issues related to amendment of the Tobacco Control Act and countering various misinformation. The program was moderated by Shaheen ul Alam, Head of Programs at Unnayan Shamannay.