Tobacco use: Prevent them young


Thiruvananthapuram, February 10 – Monthly meetings, three-monthly supervisory reviews and work diaries to record progress of their work form part of the annual action plan proposed for Anganwadi teachers in their endeavour to prevent cancers in Kerala.

This follows a day-long trainers workshop for more than 600 Anganwadi teachers of the district on World Cancer Day here, in which the thrust was on safeguarding our young ones from getting addicted to deadly tobacco products.

The Regional Cancer Centre; Directorate of Health Services; Department of Social Justice; the Regional Cancer Association (RCA) – the not-for-profit affiliate of the Regional Cancer Centre – and other voluntary groups got together to observe the day on the theme ‘I Can, We Can and Together We All Can.’

The health harms and economic burden caused by tobacco use were explained to the Anganwadi teachers, who play a critical role in moulding the minds of children, besides being strong agents of community interface.

Dr Babu Mathew, Hon Secretary, RCA said, “The trainers’ programme intended at Anganwadi teachers marks the launch of a year-long activity to prevent cancers through enhancing capacities at the grassroots. Along with early detection for management of cancers, tobacco control is also part of our efforts to prevent cancers in the state.”

RCC doctors Dr Remani Wesley; Dr Chandramohan K; Dr Gigi Thomas and Dr R Jayakrishnan handled the other sessions.  Shri Vanchiyoor V Mohanan Nair, the Convenor of the Organising Committee was also present.

On the participation of Anganwadi teachers, Smt Anupama TV, Director, Social Justice Department said, “There is enough scientific evidence to show tobacco is a gateway to other drugs. To ensure health and well-being of our children, it is vital that they do not get initiated to tobacco use.”

Resource booklets and CDs to help the trainers cascade down the learning were given.  Pre and post training questionnaires were given to the participants. Evaluation of the post training feedback showed significant improvement in the knowledge and capacities of the Anganwadi teachers towards cancer control.

Tobacco Free Kerala also associated with the activity.

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