Introducing TobaccoUnmasked HotSpots (TUHS) Trilingual App to Media: A Press Briefing and a Capacity Building Workshop

A press breifing and a capacity building workshop was held to introduce the TobaccoUnmasked HotSpots (TUHS) Trilingual App at the Hotel Janaki, Colombo 05 on 3rd February 2020. This was organised by the Centre for Combating Tobacco (CCT) with the partnership of World Health Organization (WHO) Country Office for Sri Lanka. The aim of this discussion was to introduce the trilingual version of TU HotSpots to media personnel in Sri Lanka.  Thirty three journalists representing print and Electronic media attended the press conference.

TUHS is a GIS based online free mobile application to monitor geographical location of tobacco industry activities and interference in public health. It also enables the registered users to report tobacco and alcohol advertisement and promotion through media and direct interference by the tobacco industry. This app was initially launched in April 2018 to pilot for feasibility and acceptability. An upgraded version was launched in March 2019 based on pilot test results. This time, it is the second upgrade of the app, enabling its users to submit reports in any local language they prefer. The option to access the app in the langue preferred by the user is important as specific details related to the particular incident/ event of Tobacco Industry Interference (TII) are needed, such as the geographical location, type of media event, and the details of how tobacco industry targeted/ contacted a specific individual. Therefore, the upgraded trilingual TU HotSpots app with higher accessibility provides the opportunity to more users to report any type of TII.

Prof. Jennifer Perera, Dean, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo and the Chair of the Technical Advisory Panel of CCT introduced the objectives of the workshop at its beginning. Dr. Mahesh Rajasuriya, Director of the CCT spoke about ‘Tobacco advertisements and Promotion- What should we know about it?’ and ‘Community Driven Tobacco Surveillance System’ was introduced to the participants by Dr. Manuja Perera, Editor/TobaccoUnmasked. Following that, a hands on session on TobaccoUnmasked HotSpots mobile app was conducted. The participants were trained to download, install and use the TU HotSpots App and the Map using a smart mobile device. A question and answer session followed, chaired by  Dr. Mahesh Rajasuriya, Dr.Manuja Perera and Dr. Sajeewa Ranaweera, from the Expert Committee member on Tobacco, Alcohol & Illicit Drugs, Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA), representing the Technical Advisory Panel of CCT.

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