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As of 30 June 2013, The Union Middle East Office in Cairo, Egypt will close; however, support for tobacco control partners in the Middle East will continue through the Department of Tobacco Control and local consultants. Other Union activities related to tuberculosis and lung health, as well as the work of members of The Union Middle East Region, will not be affected.

"The decision to close the office in Cairo was difficult, but one that had to be taken in order to streamline resources according to our strategic funding priorities", said José Luis Castro, Interim Executive Director of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union).

Over the past six years, the team based at The Union Middle East Office (UME) has helped countries in the region with strategic planning for tobacco control policy development and implementation. They collaborated with more than 70 governmental, non-governmental, regional and international organisations and offered expert assistance in areas ranging from project management to technical assistance and capacity building in tobacco control.

Key achievements of the UME have been supporting three successive tobacco tax increases in Egypt; the development of Egypt's graphic health warnings for tobacco packs; the establishment of an NGO coalition for tobacco control; the instigation of sub-national smokefree policies in several large Egyptian cities; and the development, implementation and defence of a comprehensive tobacco control law in Lebanon.

"The Union's success in these countries was possible only because of the dedication of the team in the Middle East and their professional approach towards public health and tobacco control", said Dr Ehsan Latif, Director of The Union's Department of Tobacco Control.

"We look forward to continuing to collaborate with our partners in the Middle East as they advance towards the goal of comprehensive tobacco control legislation and an end to the tobacco pandemic there," said Latif.

 

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