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Dr. Saba Amjad Highlights Urgent Need for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Policies at the 13th International Public Health Conference

Islamabad: Heartfile, in collaboration with Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH) and Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI), participated at the 13th International Public Health Conference held at HSA Islamabad. The event, featuring a scientific session titled “Tackling Non-Communicable Disease Risk Factors” focused on crucial health issues in Pakistan, brought together a panel of experts from government bodies, civil society organizations, and advocacy groups.

Also together with aforementioned partners, Heartfile setup and maintained presence at a stall inside the event venue for increasing networking and the visibility of Heartfile’s past and present work on NCDs alongside partners’ published materials. Heartfile’s documentary films on ,iTFAs, ENDS and ONPs were screened repeatedly.

Heartfile team actively participated in the scientific session. The session explored both Dietary Risk Factors, including industrially produced trans-fatty acids (iTFAs) and sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), and non-Dietary Risk Factor of Tobacco use.
In his keynote address, Dr. Khawaja Masuood Ahmed, National Coordinator for Nutrition & National Fortification Alliance of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination, provided valuable insights into the milestones achieved and challenges faced in Pakistan’s battle against NCDs and appreciated Heartfile’s valuable contributions to the process referring to Heartfile’s iTFA Situational Analysis in Pakistan and National Action Pan for NCDs (NAP-NCD)  for adopting global best practices with regards to iTFAs.

Mr Munawar Hussain, the country coordinator for GHAI in Pakistan, highlighted the NCD dietary risk factor of excessive sugar intake in his talk and demonstrated its linkages with the SSB industry and its products. Mr Munawar presented international best practices at length and the developments thereof particularly the of Front of Pack Labelling (FOPL) policies and standards adopted by various countries.

Mr Sanaullah Ghumman, General Secretary of PANAH gave a detailed chronology of his organization’s direct interactions with parliamentarians to garner political support for NCD related regulations highlighting both the highs and lows of their struggle in this battle.

Dr. Saba Amjad and her team, in their presentation, focused on the non-dietary NCD risk factor of Tobacco. The discussion addressed critical challenges in this domain and presented the latest contextual evidence regarding emerging nicotine-based products, including Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), Heated Tobacco Products (HTPs), and Oral Nicotine Pouches (ONPs) in Pakistan. Their presentation also highlighted the existing gaps in Pakistan’s regulatory framework to address these products and drew from international experiences in combating this emerging threat. Dr. Amjad concluded her address by proposing key policy recommendations and outlining a strategic way forward to effectively tackle the challenges posed by tobacco and related emerging products.

In her closing remarks the chair of the Scientific session Dr Afshan Tahseen Vice president PANAH summed up the discussion and appreciated the work of all organizations. She seconded the speakers’ opinions & policy recommendations and vowed to continue the advocacy work.

Overall, this session provided a pivotal platform for informed discussions, fostering collaboration between experts and stakeholders to strengthen the nation’s efforts in curbing the adverse impact of tobacco on public health and the dietary risk factor of iTFAs and SSBs.

Dr. Saba Amjad and Mr. Amjad Javaid, Senior Executives at Heartfile

13 June, 2022: Dr. Saba Amjad and Mr. Amjad Javaid, Senior Executives at Heartfile, handed over copies of Heartfile-authored books and other publications to the Vice Chancellor Health Services Academy (HSA), Dr. Shahzad Ali Khan for HSA Library. VC received the consignment, appreciated Heartfile’s gesture, and remarked that these books are frequently needed and asked for by their public health students and consultants.

Tragedies Averted

Heartfile’s brand new book is now available online! The book features stories of patients who were supported through Heartfile Health Financing. The book has been authored by Ms. Mariam Mehdi, Senior Volunteer for Heartfile Health Financing. Download here

Dissemination event of 10 country case studies on financing of NCD prevention in low- and middle-income countries

With the support of IDRC – International Development Research Centre (Canada), Heartfile conducted 10 country case studies on financing of NCD prevention in low- and middle-income countries. The countries included Pakistan, Zambia, Belarus, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Tonga, Vietnam, Jamaica, Iran, and Kenya. The studies can be accessed here and the webinar of the dissemination event can be viewed here

Heartfile TFA Report Dissemination Event

July 11, 2019: Heartfile co-hosted a dissemination event with @WHOPakistan & Nutrition wing of MoNHSRC in Islamabad to share our recently completed situational analysis on trans fats in the Pakistan context & discuss how to make Pakistan Trans fat free by 2023. The report can be accessed here.

Report on the Future of Healthcare launched

May 9, 2019: Dr. Sania Nishtar, along with Dr. Andre Goy chaired the World Economic Forum Global Future Council (GFC) on the Future of Health and Healthcare over a two year period (2016-2018). GFC comprises expert stakeholders representing the public and private healthcare sectors. For the 2016-2018 mandate, members of the GFC worked together to provide insights on how the evolution of global health and healthcare will affect us all in the decades to come, including through the implementation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The Report which was launched this week can be accessed here

Third Meeting of the High-Level Commission on NCDs

April 2-3, 2019: Third Meeting of the WHO High-Level Commission on NCDs was held in Geneva on April 2nd and 3rd. The Commission worked in three sub-groups and deliberated on the way forward for its second phase. The commission’s second report is expected to be released in October 31, 2019, which is when the Commission will sunset. Dr Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting of the Commission.

Global Consultation on Agriculture and Food Systems

March 28, 2019: The Benazir Income Support Program and the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food systems for Nutrition co-hosed a joint high-level dialogue on food systems in Islamabad on March 28. An outcome of the event is a statement of intent in which ministers, experts and other stakeholders agreed on specific, actionable policy options within their spheres of influence to support the provision of safe, affordable, accessible and healthy diets. The statement of intent is available at glopan.org/Pakistan-nutrition-statement.The meeting was chaired by Dr. Sania Nishtar. Speakers included Tom Arnold and Prof Sandy Thomas, Director, Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition.

Meeting of the Advisory Board of the UNU IIGH

March 18, 2019: Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting of the Advisory Board of the United Nations’ Institute of Global Health Advisory Committee meeting in Kuala Lumper on March 18. The institute is currently in the early stage of implementing a new strategic plan, the development of which has been shepherded by the Advisory Committee. At this meeting, the advisory committee took stock of progress and next steps.