Internet-Based Tobacco Control Program In Czech Republic

The World Bank's InfoDev program enabled CECHE and its two Czech partners- the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM) and the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH)- to launch an Internet-based communications program aimed at tobacco control in the Czech Republic.

Teen smoking—target of Czech program

The main goal of the project -- started in June 1999-- was to build indigenous capacity of Czech health professionals and lay volunteers in the use of contemporary information technology to heighten public awareness and catalyze policy change necessary for the creation of a tobacco-free environment in the Czech Republic. A Czech Tobacco-Control Training and Communications Program (TOB-CCP)-a demonstration program-located at IKEM- is continuing to train health professionals from Czech district level District Hygiene Stations (DITs) and other tobacco-control professionals and NGO's in using contemporary information technology for public policy advocacy and tobacco control. The project is spearheaded by CECHE's key Czech partners, Drs Rudolf Poledne of IKEM and Hana Sovonova of NIPH.

Key international partners are UICC-GLOBALink of Geneva, for providing training in Internet and tobacco control communications, and the National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids and the Advocacy Institute, both in Washington, D.C. - for training in advocacy and policy reform.  The project has led to the creation of an electronic network of Czech health professionals and NGOs and the establishment of a Czech Heart Association (CHA) -- the first grassroots membership organization dedicated to smoking and cardiovascular disease prevention.  The CHA is patterned after the American Heart Association, one of the oldest and most successful private voluntary organizations engaged in health promotion and tobacco control in the United States. The experience in the Czech Republic will be considered for wide scale applicability in the CEE-NIS region and elsewhere.

Project Goals and Objectives

Form an Internet-based network comprising health professionals from Czech district level hygiene stations (DITs), heart disease-prevention NGOs other professionals concerned with tobacco-control.

Train & Enhance Capacity of the organizations and individuals in use of the Internet for research and communication on tobacco issues October 1999; April 2000; June2000; Tobacco-Control Conference

Establish an advocacy and cardiovascular disease prevention NGO (using this network as a mechanism) dedicated to reducing tobacco use and reforming tobacco policies in the Czech Republic.

Project Outcomes

  • A self-sustaining Tobacco-Control Training and Communications Program with excellence in communications technology, and regional, national and international linkage and outreach. For major events, download the CECHE-IKEM-NIPH brochure (czebroch.pdf)
  • Targeted information technology and skills transfer workshops(October 1999; April 2000; June2000; August 2000 ) and a Tobacco-Control Conference conducted at the project hub and in various districts of the Czech Republic
  • A demand-based resource service on tobacco control equipped with high-quality resource materials for the Internet and computerized database and research capabilities that cater to requests
  • A comprehensive data collection system to support program operations and pre- and post-surveys of knowledge, skills and applications among the participating organizations to assess program impact.
  • Continuous electronic-media tobacco-control campaigns, which increasingly engage more groups in Czech society in tobacco control.  Learn about project participation in WHO’s “Quit and Win” campaign.
  • A website with an electronic bulletin board, resource directory, What's New listing.  Visit the project homepage at Czech Ministry’s National Institute of Public Health’s website for up-to-date reports on current events.
  • Monthly electronic bulletins with nationwide and international circulation.

Over the past two years, the Czech partners have recruited over 40 DITs and NGO's to participate as members of the network in the project ).  A needs assessment survey early in the project revealed that while all the polled organizations can access the Internet (and three have web pages and several have tobacco-control programs), only one, an NGO, has a media advocacy program.  All DITs and NGO's expressed a strong need for skills training in email and Internet use, and some requested equipment and software or dedicated Internet phone lines.  And, this was the subject of the first "train the trainers" workshop held in Prague in October 1999.   Subsequent workshops, conferences and related activities have focused on media outreach , public policy advocacy, and establishment of the Czech Heart Association.  Furthermore, the project led to a series of local, national and international partnerships which facilitated project implementation and enhanced its impact.

Evaluation of each workshop and the tobacco control Conference demonstrates that the project accomplished al its major goals, indeed, exceeded them. Review and comment on the Impact of this project.

The project also generated important lessons for the future-in particular that strong local partners and commitment to the project is key to success-or failure. Read about the Lessons from his project.


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