A total of five participants from University Malaya (UM) – Associate Professor Dr. Anne Yee, Dr. Mohazmi Mohamed, Dr. Kow Ken Siong and Dr Mohammad Firdaus led by Associate Professor Dr. Amer Siddiq, chief co-ordinator of University Malaya Centre for Addiction Sciences (UMCAS) – recently completed their Fellowship Programme on Tobacco Control organised by the Tobacco Control Office of the Department of Health (DH) , Hong Kong in conjunction with WHO collaborating centre for smoking cessation and treatment of Tobacco Dependence. The fellowship programme was held in Hong Kong, China from 23-27 October 2017.
This programme, which began in 2013 and is held annually, targeted middle managers in tobacco control and is structured according to ‘MPOWER’ measures as laid down by WHO. It is designed to provide a comprehensive over-view of tobacco control measures, legislation, enforcement, advocacy and publicity as well as development and evaluation of tobacco cessation efforts.
The week long programme included lectures, workshops, group discussions, and field immersion such as visits to community based cessation centres. Local experts such as Professor Judith MacKay, Professor Lam Tai Hing, Dr Homer Tio and other representatives from the Hong Kong council on smoking and health, Department of Health funded NGOs, doctors and clinical psychologist from smoking cessation clinic centres shared their experience with the participants. Two renowned overseas’ experts, Professor Simon Chapman (Professor in Public Health, the University of Sydney) and Mr Timothy Milbrandt (Lead counsellor, Nicotine Dependence Centre, Mayo Clinic) were speakers on the first two days.
The Malaysian delegates presented current tobacco control measures taken by Malaysia and shared with other delegates on how to improve tobacco control activities and the tobacco burden in Malaysia
Malaysian participation in this fellowship programme from UM under the auspices of UMCAS has been ongoing since 2015 and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Amer Siddiq has expressed continual support and commitment to sending more university delegates with interest in tobacco control and cessation and advocacy to participate in this fellowship programme. Future plans will include giving postgraduate students conducting tobacco control and cessation research the opportunity to attend similar fellowship programmes.