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Mathata Thitha programme studied by foreign delegates

Foreign delegates now visit Sri Lanka to study the anti-tobacco and alcohol programmes, which have won international recognition, according to a Health Ministry official.

"President Mahinda Rajapaksa's Mathata Thitha work programme (full stop to tobacco and alcohol) and all other programmes implemented under same have won wide international recognition, and many foreign delegations now visit Sri Lanka to study the schemes with the intention of implementing them in their own countries" a Health Ministry spokesman said.

According to him a 19 member delegation from Vietnam was recently in Sri Lanka to study the frame work and apply a similar scheme in Vietnam to control the excessive use of tobacco and alcohol in that country. The delegation consisted of legal officers, doctors, and state officials.

"The delegation has revealed to local health officials that Vietnam is severely affected by alcohol and tobacco and that even school going children have been found to be smoking while in their classrooms. Further, the use of alcohol and tobacco by public servants during office hours was also revealed to be high.

In addition, non-communicable diseases in Vietnam according to the delegation, are reported to have increased due to the excess use of tobacco and alcohol.

The literacy rate in that country, members of the delegation state is much lower than in Sri Lanka" he said.

"Sri Lanka was the first country in the Asian region, and the fourth country in the world to sign the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

It has achieved significant success in controlling alcohol, tobacco and other dangerous drugs. Even smoking in public places have been prohibited and offenders can be prosecuted in courts", he stated.

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