Launch of the South Asian Regional Consortium Centre for Combating Tobacco (SARC-CCT)
The South Asian Regional Consortium Centre for Combating Tobacco (SARC-CCT) was launched by the Centre for Combating Tobacco (CCT), Sri Lanka, along with the representatives from the region, on 15th July 2019 at the Galle Face hotel, Colombo. The main purpose of establishing the SARC-CCT is to monitor tobacco industry interference and implementation of Article 5.3 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in South Asia. CCT provides technical expertise for the project and acts as the coordinating body in development and functioning of the SARC-CCT. Powered by the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), it is partnered by a range of tobacco control related government and civil society organizations from South Asian countries, namely, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan.
THE INAUGURATION AND THE TECHNICAL MEETING
SARC-CCT was ceremoniously launched at the Galle Face Hotel, Colombo, Sri Lanka on 15th July 2019 with the participation of distinguished guests and national and international tobacco control stakeholders. A technical meeting titled “New Developments in Tobacco Industry Monitoring” preceded the inaugural session. It was chaired by the Dean, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Prof. Jennifer Perera and Mr. Pubudu Sumanasekara, Executive Director of the Alcohol and Drug Information Centre (ADIC) Sri Lanka.The Vice-Chancellor of University of Colombo Sri Lanka, Senior Professor Chandrika N Wijeyaratne, was the Chief Guest and Dr. Palitha Abeykoon, Chairperson of the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) Sri Lanka was the Guest of Honour at the ceremonial Inauguration. The SARC-CCT logo was ceremoniously unravelled by the Chief Guest and the SARC-CCT committee members symbolising the initiation of SARC-CCT. The SARC-CCT official website www.sarccct.org was also launched by the chief guest at the inauguration. Apart from the Chief Guest and the Guest of Honour, Dr. Stella Bialous, Professor, School of Nursing, University of California San Francisco, Dr. Mary Assunta, Senior Policy Advisor, Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA), representing the WHO FCTC Secretariat and the Knowledge Hub on Article 5.3, Mr. Pranay Lal, Technical Advisor, The international Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (The Union), Mr. Phil Chamberlain, Tobacco Control Research group, University of Bath, Ms. Emma Green, Project Manager, STOP Initiative, The Union, New York, USA, Dr. Razia Pendse, World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative for Sri Lanka enlightened the gathering with their speeches along with the Dr. Mahesh Rajasuriya, Director, Centre for Combating Tobacco (CCT).
THREE-DAY CAPACITY BUILDING WORKSHOP
The inauguration was followed by a three-day capacity building workshop for the participants from South Asian countries at the Amora Lagoon Hotel, Katunayake, from 15-17th July 2019 with the technical assistance of Dr. Mary Assunta, Mr. Phil Chamberlain, Dr. Stella Bialous, Mr. Pranay Lal (The Union), Mr. Syed Mahbubul Alam (The Union), Dr.Tara Singh Bam (The Union), Ms. Emma Green Dr. Silvana Rubano Turci (Center for Tobacco and Health Studies of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation/ Tobacco Observatory in Brazil), Ms. Joyce Lindiwe Jakavula, (ACBF at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University/ Tobacco Observatory in South Africa), Dr. Diyanath Samarasinghe, Mr. Pubudu Sumanasekara, Dr. Sajeeva Ranaweera (subject experts from Sri Lanka), Dr. Mahesh Rajasuriya and Dr. Manuja Perera (CCT). The SARC-CCT participants developed pragmatic and realistic action plans for follow-up activities at the end of the three days and enthusiastically agreed to work in solidarity to make the SARC-CCT a success.