Six non-governmental organisations working against the use of tobacco products have expressed serious concern about the alleged plan of state-owned Kathmandu Institute of Child Heath headed by Prof Bagawan Koirala to accept financial assistance equivalent to Rs 50 million from Surya Nepal Pvt Ltd, a cigarette factory, as part of the latter's corporate social responsibility.

The organisation raising voice against the acceptance of proposed financial assistance include Resource Centre for Primary Health Care, Nepal Development Research Institute, Cancer Council Nepal, Nagarjun Development Community, Cancer Society Nepal and Action Nepal.

Issuing a joint press release today, the organisations said that the move to accept financial assistance from a tobacco factory by a health facility on the pretext of Corporate Social Responsibility was in contravention of the prevailing laws.

According to the organisations, officials of public agencies are prohibited from accepting any assistance, participation or cooperation from tobacco industries in any activity or programme related to health facilities.

The Tobacco Product Control and Regulatory Directives, 2014 states that tobacco manufacturer and related parties are prohibited from providing any financial, technical, material, and structural assistance to educational seminaries, theatres, religious discourse, preaching or health facilities operated by the government, non-government or private sectors.

The organisations have called on the health facility led by Prof Koirala to refuse the financial assistance from the tobacco factory.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 25, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.