The global health body said that Nadda will be conferred the Director Generals Special Recognition Award for accelerating India’s tobacco control initiatives and taking bold measures to protect people against hazards of tobacco use.
Interestingly, sources said that one of the main proposers for the award was K S Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), which was recently barred from getting foreign funds by the government.
WHO has also selected health ministers of the Maldives and Bhutan among five individuals or institutions from the WHO South-East Asia Region for this years World No-Tobacco Day Award.
“Nadda has accelerated India’s tobacco control initiatives, taking bold measures to protect people against multiple health, economic, social and development hazards of tobacco use,” said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia.
India’s recent initiatives include making graphic health warnings covering 85 per cent of all tobacco products mandatory beginning April 2016 and establishing national tobacco testing laboratories last year.
The initiatives also include launching cessation services in 2015 and, as part of this, a National Tobacco Quit line a year ago.
These have all been made possible by the strong commitment and focused efforts of the Minister of Health and Family Welfare, the Regional Director said in a WHO-South East Asia Regional Office (SEARO) statement.
Nadda is among the two recipients of the special global award this year.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs of the Republic of the Gambia is the other awardee.
Singh added that by pursuing tobacco control measures, countries across the region are striving to advance public health at the same time as accelerating development.
“Tobacco consumption not only threatens and undermines public health, it has major social, economic and environmental consequences.
“On World No-Tobacco Day, we must pledge to continue our efforts to strengthen implementation of Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), to address tobaccos threat to public health and sustainable development,” Singh said.
Sources said that Nadda will be conferred the award at an event scheduled next month.
From the WHO South-East Asia Region, Health Minister of Maldives, Abdullah Nazim Ibrahim, has been conferred the World No-Tobacco Day Award for promoting tobacco cessation services and launching the anti-tobacco I Choose Life campaign last year.
Bhutan’s Health Minister Tandin Wangchuk, has been selected for the award for implementing measures, as chairperson of Bhutans Narcotic Control Authority, to ban production and sale of tobacco in the country.
An MP from Bangladesh, Saber Hossain Chowdhury, has been selected for the World No-Tobacco Award for initiating inclusion of tobacco control in the countrys seventh five- year plan in 2015, for sustainable resources for the programme.
The CEO of Thai Health Promotion Foundation, Supreda Adulyanon and Sri Lankas National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol control are among the others selected for the award from the region this year.