Trainings in Bolivia address tobacco dependence in primary care

If current smoking patterns persist, tobacco will kill 1 billion people this century, with an estimated 70% to 80% of those deaths occurring in low or middle income countries. In Bolivia, tobacco is among the top three risk factors accounting for the burden of disease,[1] smoking prevalence is 25% and the tobacco death toll is 8% in men and 2% in women. Bolivian leaders are working together, with help from Global Bridges, to help physicians take an active role in smoking cessation. In accordance with FCTC and MPOWER, the Ministry of Health and the Civil Society had agreed on actions to foster a National Plan of Smoking Cessation. Therefore SEDES (Servicio Departamental de Salud) of Santa Cruz, InterAmerican Heart Foundation and Global Bridges endorsed a strategy to build training capacity in Bolivia based on WHO’s training package: Strengthening Health Systems for Treating Tobacco Dependence in Primary Care (WHO 2013.)

Pamela Cortez, Alejandra Karina Garron Monje (FIC Bolivia) and Patricia T
apia (SEDES) led the organization of a successful two-day training session on October 21st and 22nd held in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. On the first day, 13 Bolivian tobacco experts were tutored in the Train-the-Trainers program based on “Building Capacity for Tobacco Control Part IV” whom on the second day trained 15 health care providers to address tobacco dependence in primary care.photo3

Furthermore, they organized themselves in two teams to replicate the training in primary care to advance accessibility for smoking cessation in their region. On November 20th Santa Cruz´s crew successfully trained 14 health care providers and La Paz´ssquad already scheduled a smoking cessation training session on December 16th in partnership with Bolivia Ministry of Health. These actions are being performed concurrently with FCTC Article 14th implementation plan coached by Martin Raw, IAHF and Tobacco Control Program teams.