The Center for Health Services Research and Development (CHSR) at the American University of Armenia (AUA) hosted the Third National Meeting of the Coalition for Tobacco Free Armenia ( http://www.tobaccofreearmenia.am ) o n November 13, 2008. The Coalition was formed in June 11, 2004 and is a voluntary union of 30 member NGOs.
The theme of this meeting was Strategic Planning for Tobacco Control. Dr. Lucig Danielian, Provost and Vice President of the American University of Armenia , and Ara Babloyan, Chair of the Standing Committee on Health Care Issues at the RA National Assembly welcomed the participants of the 3rd National Meeting. Dr. Danielian emphasized that the adoption of the Tobacco Control Law was a very essential step forward for our nation, but without relevant data it would be impossible to do important advocacy work to improve legislation in Armenia . Dr. Babloyan updated participants of the meeting on the recent developments in tobacco control related regulations and encouraged to continue the advocacy efforts in fighting against tobacco.
Narine Movsisyan, Tobacco Control Programs Manager at CHSR/AUA, presented findings and policy recommendations based on the CHSR/AUA report on the “Analysis of Tobacco Control Policy in Armenia 2005-2007,” published with support from the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation Armenia . Dr. Movsisyan emphasized that the purpose of this publication was two tiered: not only to provide evidence-based policy advice but also facilitate public debate to continuously improve the state tobacco control policy.
Two discussion sessions were held as a part of this meeting: 1) Future Strategies for Tobacco Control and 2) Evaluation of Targeted Health Programs in Armenia . Movses Aristakesyan, President of the NGO “Center for Economic Rights,” was the moderator of the first session; the key speakers included Alexander Bazarchyan, WHO Focal Point on Tobacco Control; Anahit Muradyan from the Ministry of Education and Science; and Hovhannes Margaryants, President of the Armenian Public Health Union.
Varuzhan Hoktanyan, Public Policy Expert and Deputy President of the NGO “Transparency International”; Zaruhi Mkrtchyan, Senior Research, Monitoring & Evaluation Officer of the Project NOVA; and Movses Aristakesyan participated in the second session. Varduhi Petrosyan, Director of CHSR/AUA, as the moderator of this session closed the session with a discourse on the importance of incorporating all the lessons learned during the implementation of the State Tobacco Control Program for 2005-2009 when developing the Program for the next five years (2010-2015).
Representatives of different NGO’s, students, alumni and faculty from the College of Health Sciences, as well as other guests from different organizations actively participated in the discussions about future steps and strategies in “striving for excellence” to improve the effectiveness of tobacco control policy in Armenia.
All participants received a copy of the bilingual publication “Analysis of Tobacco Control Policy in Armenia 2005-2007” (available at http://www.auachsr.com/publications_reports2008.php.