Local level action on FCTC Article 5.3 in Bangladesh
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Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust, Health Rights and Tobacco Control, Bangladesh
Bangladesh Anti Tobacco Alliance (BATA), Communication, Advocacy - Tobacco Control, Bangladesh
Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust, Administration and Management, Bangladesh
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A73
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Background and challenges to implementation:
Throughout Bangladesh, the tobacco industry regularly organizes events and parties to which it invites government officials and sponsors local events. These activities make it less likely that local officials will rein in the industry when it breaks the law. Meanwhile, research conducted in 2015 by Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust (WBB) found that just 10% of local officials knew nothing about the FCTC Article 5.3 on industry interference.

Intervention or response:
During 2016-17, WBB conducted a series of local-level seminars jointly with government officials and NGOs. In the seminar we presented about FCTC Article 5.3 and the need to take strong action to prevent such interference in government policy. We also presented officials with a book we have written in Bengali on the topic.

Results and lessons learnt:
As a result of the seminars, government officials in five of the seven divisions of Bangladesh drafted and passed official orders on industry interference. This means that local officials from the divisional level down to the local level are now aware of the issue and have clear guidelines on avoiding it. We realized that a large part of the problem is that NGOs may remain silent on this issue, while the tobacco industry actively pursues the government officials. A fairly simple set of activities may be sufficient to strengthen the resolve of officials to avoid industry interference. These activities parallel work we have done on the national level, which is proceeding at a slower pace.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
Our experience sheds light on the possibility of making important progress on FCTC Article 5.3. If progress is slow on the national level, it may be useful to address the local level as well, where there are fewer obstacles to success.