Interview: Medical student Imtiaz Hafiz founds an Education Against Tobacco group in Bangladesh
Education Against Tobacco has been founded in Bangladesh:
Imtiaz Hafiz is a 22 year old medical student who just founded Education Against Tobacco in his home country. More than 20 colleagues already joined his team.
Imtiaz, what motivates you to start the project?
“Cigarette smoking is an intractable public health problem that poses threat to the health of the entire population. Smoking is considered as the single largest risk factor for a variety of malignancies, including lung cancer. Bangladesh being the seventh most populous country in the world has an increasing number of smokers. So when I came across this project in a social media website, I was pleasantly taken aback to know the aims and goals of EAT. I sincerely believe that by providing proper education the number of smokers among adolescents can be reduced.”
How is the smoking prevalence in Bangladesh and why do you think it is important to start action in your country?
“The smoking prevalence in Bangladesh is 42.0% males and 1.3% females smoke tobacco. In a recent study statistics show that about 22% of adolescents in school smoke cigarettes . The prevalence of smoking is gradually increasing among the adolescents in Bangladesh. It has taken a sharp rise in recent years and it is important to hinder the adolescents through proper education.”
What convinces you that medical students can make a difference in adolescent smoking?
“Medical students have to undergo trainings where they learn to communicate and counsel with patients and attendants as part of their curriculum. The medical students are good health educators and are always good in terms of advocacy and effective communication. By proper advocacy through effective communication the medical students can make a difference in adolescent smoking.”
What were the first reactions from your colleagues?
“My colleagues were very delighted to know to about the project. Some of them got involved too. They are also willing to work in the project. If you are a medical student from Bangladesh and interested in participating; you can join our team here: http://educationtobacco.org/bangladesh/”
Which medical schools in Bangladesh will participate?
“Shaheed Monsur Ali Medical College
Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College
Dhaka Medical College
ZH Sikder Womens Medical College
Dr. Sirajul Islam Medical College
Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College
Dhaka Community Medical College
Mymensingh Medical College
Green Life Medical College”
Interview: Titus Brinker, JLU Gießen, Germany