In a landmark move towards inclusive healthcare, the National Tobacco Quitline Service (NTQLS), run by the Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute, is now available in 15 regional languages. This significant milestone was celebrated at the institute’s World No Tobacco Day event held at the Pental Memorial Golden Jubilee Auditorium.
The NTQLS has emerged as a beacon of hope for millions grappling with tobacco addiction since its launch in 2016 by Union Health Minister Hon’ble Shri Jai Prakash Nadda. Today, it continues to break barriers by ensuring that language doesn’t hinder the help they can offer.
Since its humble beginnings in a single room with six counseling stations, the service has expanded exponentially. Today, it boasts a workforce of 64 staff members who serve tirelessly in two shifts, providing much-needed support to callers from across the country. With the addition of the regional languages, the service’s impact is set to increase even more significantly.
The success of the NTQLS has been profound. As of April 2023, it received over seven million calls, over two million of which received counseling. An impressive total of 156,644 individuals reported successfully quitting tobacco, highlighting the service’s impact.
Adding to the joy of the event, the staff performed a stirring play titled “We Need Food, Not Tobacco,” emphasizing the need to quit tobacco. The passion and dedication of the staff were evident, reinforcing their mantra: “Those who have not started should not start. Those who have started by mistake should quit.”
The Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute’s decision to include 15 regional languages in the NTQLS is an embodiment of the belief that healthcare, including addiction counseling, should be accessible to all, regardless of language. As the service continues to expand and reach out to more people, it stands as a testament to India’s commitment to public health.