Round table on draft National Tobacco Control Programme in Republic of Moldova

WHO

A round table discussion dedicated to the finalization of the National Tobacco Control Programme and Action Plan 2012-2016, was organized by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Moldova, with the support of the WHO Regional Office for Europe on 24 August 2011. The event, held at the National Centre of Public Health, was part of the joint WHO/Europe and WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Secretariat’s mission to the country which took place 22-25 August 2011. It brought together the main stakeholders involved in tobacco control policy development over the past year. Approximately 70 participants attended, including the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Moldova, as well as representatives from various other ministries, the National Centre of Public Health, the National Health Insurance Company, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and mass media.

The objective of the round table was to discuss the final draft of the National Tobacco Control Programme and Action Plan 2012-2016, together with all comments to the document which were received during public consultations launched by the Ministry of Health in June 2011, in view of the expected government approval of the programme later this year.

Dr Mihai Magdei, Deputy Minister of Health, commented at the opening, “it is encouraging to see the discussion has already reached this late stage and I would like to express my gratitude to all those involved in the development of this document, including to the external experts provided by WHO". Dr Magdei added, “we know that implementation of this programme will be a real challenge for our country, mainly due to resistance from the tobacco industry, but we hope that with joint efforts we will succeed”.

Among other speakers, Ms Karina Immonen, UN Resident Coordinator, mentioned that health is an important priority in the document guiding UN and the government of the Republic of Moldova partnership UNDAF 2007-2012, which is also being considered for the next phase 2013-2017. Ms Immonen also said that the round table discussion could provide important input for future activities to be implemented under WHO leadership in close participation with the larger UN family. Dr Tibor Szilagyi from the FCTC Secretariat referred to the importance of time-bound provisions of the Convention and expressed hope that the Republic of Moldova will approve its National Programme by the end of November when the regional workshop on WHO FCTC implementation is organized. Kristina Mauer-Stender from the WHO Regional Office for Europe emphasized some encouraging characteristics of the draft document such as including important intersectoral cooperation components, considering earmarked taxation components for public health, and having concrete indicators and targets to measure the actual progress of the implementation.

The round table consisted of expert presentations, sessions of questions and answers, and open debates. It resulted in a series of conclusions and recommendations developed by stakeholders in a participatory manner with input from international experts. These conclusions and recommendations will be taken into consideration during the finalization process of the National Tobacco Control Programme and Action Plan 2012-2016, before its submission to the government for approval.