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Union tobacco control experts have helped develop a new module for Masters in Public Health programmes in India – the first of its kind for the country. The material was piloted during a five-day workshop attended by 60 students, faculty and senior residents from six medical institutions.

Training focused on key aspects of tobacco use, including, epidemiology, socio-economic impact, operational research, policies to reduce consumption (FCTC and MPOWER), tobacco industry interference and India's National Tobacco Control Programme.

'In India tobacco use causes more than one million premature deaths each year. This Masters course offers a great opportunity for us teach about the evidence-based policies that can save lives and prevent the physical and economic suffering caused by tobacco use,' said Dr Rana Jugdeep Singh, The Union's senior technical advisor on tobacco control for South-East Asia. 'Academia plays a vital role in the effective development and implementation of public health measures. This is a valuable platform for building expert capacity here in India.'

Dr Rana was one of the instructors who ran the training from 29 June to 3 July at Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research [JIPMER] in Pondicherry. Dr S C Parija, director of JIPMER, inaugurated the workshop. He said that the training was an important public health initiative and emphasised JIPMER's strong local and regional support for tobacco control.

Thanks to the success of the pilot programme, a comprehensive follow-up module is being developed. The course will then be replicated in more than 20 medical schools across the country. The course content was developed collaboratively by The Union, JIPMER and the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh.

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