In September 2010, tobacco control and other health advocates from 9 countries in the Western Pacific region, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Philippines, Malaysia, Mongolia, Samoa, Tonga and Vietnam, participated in a regional workshop in Hanoi, Vietnam to strengthen capacity for health promotion and tobacco control through sustainable funding mechanisms such as dedicated tobacco taxes.
The workshop had two groups of countries: (1) A or “Advanced ProLead” – those with health promotion foundations (Malaysia, Mongolia and Tonga); and B or “Basic ProLead” ‑ those working towards development of health promotion foundations (Cambodia, Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the Philippines, Samoa, and Viet Nam). Country participants were tasked to learn from and work with existing HPFs from around the world and identify strategic interventions to advance the development and establishment of or strengthening of health promotion funding mechanisms and/or tobacco taxation measures. These have been further developed into 9- to 12-month projects that are currently funded by Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) through its Southeast Asia initiative on Tobacco Tax (SITT) or WHO-TFI-WPRO.
Last 31 March-2 April 2011, a follow up to review the country projects and check on their progress was held in Malacca, Malaysia. It was co-hosted by the Malaysian Health Promotion Board (MHPB) and organized with the support of the WHO-TFI-WPRO and the SITT/SEATCA.
The opening ceremonies was graced by the Minister of Health of Malaysia, Y.B. Dato’ Sri Liow Tiong Lai, who gave the opening remarks, Dr. Corinne Capuano, the WHO representative for Malaysia, the Chairwoman of the MHPB and other distinguished guests.
Executives from existing Health Promotion Foundations and other organizations were tapped to speak and lend their expertise to the workshop: the Swiss Health Promotion Foundation, Thai Health Promotion Foundation (Thaihealth), Victoria Health Promotion Foundation (Vichealth), Western Australia Health Promotion Foundation (Healthway), Singapore Health Promotion Board, Nossal Institute for Global Health, La Trobe University, and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
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