JALUKBARI, April 10 - The Gauhati University and the Sambandh Health Foundation (SHF), in collaboration with Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute and Assam Cancer Care Foundation (ACCF), recently organised a workshop on cancer prevention among National Service Scheme (NSS) programme officers and volunteers, a press release stated.
Assam has more than one crore tobacco users and the State witnesses 34,000 deaths every year due to tobacco-related diseases. The NSS has taken the initiative to prevent youths from consuming tobacco under the �Pledge for Life� (PFL) campaign.
Under the campaign, NSS volunteers recently carried out a pilot project to mobilise community members to protect themselves from cancer. Nearly 1,200 NSS volunteers held 260 events in which they sensitised more than 40,000 people on the harmful effects of tobacco through streetplays, pledge-taking activities, wall magazines, debates, etc. The PFL campaign will now be rolled out in the entire State.
GU Vice Chancellor Dr Mridul Hazarika, who was present in the workshop, said,��The problem of tobacco use is a serious issue in the State. This initiative will not only help NSS volunteers but also influence people in the community to keep away from tobacco products.�
Dr Ashok Das, cancer surgeon and Voice of Tobacco Victims (VoTV) patron from Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute, said,��We have diagnosed cancer in youngsters coming to our hospital. I am glad to see the NSS taking the leadership in saving the youths. This will certainly help bring down tobacco consumption.�
Speaking in the workshop, Dr Ranjan Kakoti, project coordinator of NSS Assam, said,��The Gauhati University participated in the pilot project and has been successful in mobilising the community.�
According to GATS 2017, Assam has 48 per cent people (aged 15 years and above) smoking or chewing tobacco. Smokeless tobacco prevalence in Assam is 41.7 per cent, while smoking constitutes 13.3 per cent. More than 140 children take to tobacco use every day in Assam.
Vara Prasad, CEO, ACCF, said: �Prevention is the best way to reduce cancer prevalence and the NSS is taking the lead in initiating social reforms and preventing our future generation from the deadly tobacco products.�