Internet-Based Tobacco Control Network In Czech Republic
Public health practitioners from the Czech District Hygiene Stations and health-related non-governmental, nonprofit organizations are the participants in CECHE's Internet-Based Tobacco Control Program in the Czech Republic. Through their participation in a series of Internet training and communication workshops, they have formed the TOB-CCP Network.
A major goal of the project is communicating through the Internet so that the activities and successes of all expand. Approximately 40 organizations have joined the program to date with one to three individuals from each organization.
Representatives from these organizations attended Internet training workshops in October 1999"(October 1999; April 2000; June2000) and in December 1999 and March 2000 at the Czech National Institute of Public Health (NIPH). Globalink and subsequently NIPH trained the participants in the use of the Internet and e-mail, networking via the net, and use of the net for research on tobacco-control activities, particularly using Globalink.
Communication among network members continues via regular and electronic mail plus conferences on related activities in the Czech Republic and elsewhere in Europe. Network members are participating in WHO's bi-annual "Quit & Win" contest, a Europe-wide program to reward smokers who quit. Posters and application forms were distributed to all district hygiene stations and other related organizations. NIPH's March issue of the bulletin Tobacco and Health was published in both print and electronic forms. Other activities of the network members include increased Internet communication and connections, such as joining GLOBALink, contacting local and regional press for health stories, participating in drafting new legislative bills and presenting information to Parliament.
The Network members are the grasstips for development of the grassroots membership organization, the Czech Heart Association. The network, representative members of which are illustrated below, has grown from an original group of 11 members at the start of the project in summer of 1999 to nearly 40 members by the end of December 2000.
An assessment of the TOB-CCP Network to quantify the Internet communication activities, web page visits, research, tobacco control campaigns, and e-mail for professional activities, shows that the network has been effective in coalition building and enhancing their tobacco control activities through the network. Members are maintaining an Internet log of their activities.
About 25 of the 40 members participated in the final assessment of the network, which consisted of a survey of network members in October - November 2000 to quantify the Internet communication activities, visits to web page for research, tobacco control campaigns, or e-mail for professional communications. The majority of the network comprised members from DITs. The largest group had initially joined the network in October 1999 after the first Internet Training Workshop. Most of the members attended two workshops and participated in the "Quit and Win" project. Technological connectivity was high with a sizeable majority of network members indicating that they have daily access to a computer. A large group indicated regular use of email for tobacco control-related issues as well as visits to health-related websites. The TOB-CCP's Website allowed network participation in a listserv in keeping with its goal of promoting tobacco-control outreach among its members and providing accessible information to its members.
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