The Digital Pulse: The Current and Future Applications of Information and Communication Technologies for Developmental Health Priorities

Chapter 3 - Programme Experiences: Sixty Case Studies Of ICT Usage In Developmental Health

Section 2 – Social Development, Education, Advocacy

Internet-Based Tobacco Control Network - Czech Republic

Center for Communications, Health and the Environment (CECHE)

Development Issues: Tobacco, Health, Technology

Programme Summary

The Center for Communications, Health and the Environment (CECHE) is a private, non-profit, American institution based in Washington, DC. Their mission is to assist under-served communities in the United States and developing nations worldwide by conceptualizing, catalyzing, and supporting programs to improve health and alleviate the adverse health affects of environmental pollution. CECHE is especially focused on the use of mass media and information technology in programs centred around five areas: school-based and community intervention; environment and public health programs and policy; professional training in media and health; public education; and private voluntary sector development.

The World Bank's InfoDev program enabled CECHE and its two Czech partners- the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM) and the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH)- to launch an Internet-based communications program aimed at tobacco control in the Czech Republic. The main goal of the initiative was to use ICT to heighten public awareness & catalyze the necessary policy change for a tobacco-free environment in the Czech Republic. This goal was achieved through efforts to increase the communications capacity among health and social awareness professionals.

Summary of ICT Initiatives

Czech partners recruited over 40 District Level Hygiene Stations (DITs) and NGO's to participate as members of the network in the project. A needs assessment survey early in the project revealed that while all the polled organizations can access the Internet (and three have web pages and several have tobacco-control programs), only one, an NGO, has a media advocacy program. All DITs and NGO's expressed a strong need for skills training in email and Internet use, and some requested equipment and software or dedicated Internet phone lines.

Project Goals and Objectives

  • Form an Internet-based network comprising health professionals from Czech DITs, heart disease-prevention NGOs other professionals concerned with tobacco-control.
  • Train & Enhance Capacity of the organizations and individuals in use of the Internet for research and communication on tobacco issues October 1999; April 2000; June2000; Tobacco-Control Conference.
  • Establish an advocacy and cardiovascular disease prevention NGO (using this network as a mechanism) dedicated to reducing tobacco use and reforming tobacco policies in the Czech Republic.

Project Outcomes

  • A self-sustaining Tobacco-Control Training and Communications Program promoting excellence in communications technology, and regional, national and international linkage and outreach.
  • Targeted information technology and skills transfer workshops and a Tobacco-Control Conference conducted at the project hub and in various districts of the Czech Republic.
  • A demand-based resource service on tobacco control equipped with high-quality resource materials for the Internet and computerized database and research capabilities that cater to requests.
  • The development of a comprehensive data collection system to support program operations and pre- and post-surveys of knowledge, skills and applications among the participating organizations to assess program impact.
  • Continuous electronic-media tobacco-control campaigns, which increasingly engage more groups in Czech society in tobacco control.
  • A website with an electronic bulletin board, resource directory, and "What's New" listing. See the homepage at Czech Ministry's National Institute of Public Health's website for up-to-date reports on current events.
  • Monthly electronic bulletins with nationwide and international circulation.
  • The establishment of an advocacy NGO dedicated to reducing tobacco use and the prevention of cardiovascular disease - the Czech Heart Association (CHA).


The project shows how specialized knowledge on awareness raising campaigns can be transferred from one country to another by using relatively simple Information Communication Technology (ICTs): Email and Internet. Evaluation of each workshop and the tobacco control Conference demonstrates that the project accomplished all its major goals, indeed, exceeded them. The CECHE website provides and extensive documentation and comparisons of planned and actual outcomes.

Organizers also noted the following important lessons click here for details]:

  • Professional standing and commitment of Czech partners and placing them in leadership roles was key to successful project implementation.
  • Partnerships with key international organizations and players in the grass roots movement, tobacco control and Internet use ensured needed tools and optimal training.
  • Partnerships with key local organizations involved in tobacco control within and outside the Czech government are necessary to ensure project viability, wide scale impact and future sustainability of the program.
  • Collaborating with Czech TV, radio and print media played a central role in enhancing the project's outreach and impact.
  • Ongoing needs assessment ensured targeted training and project evaluation. The training program encompassed ongoing needs assessment as the network grew.
  • Periodic project evaluation assisted in mid-course corrections.
  • Early availability of promotional materials to publicize the project and published programs for workshops could have improved recruitment of participants and dissemination of project.

Partners: The World Bank, Centre for Communications, Health & Environment (CECHE) - USA, Institute for Clinical & Experimental Medicine (IKEM) - Czech, National Institute of Public Health (NIPH) - Czech. Also, key international partners UICC-GLOBALink of Geneva, the National Centre for Tobacco-Free Kids & the Advocacy Institute, Financed by the International Bank for Reconstruction & Development-infoDev Trust Grant.

Source:CECHE Website

For More Information Contact:

Dr. Sushma Palmer

4437 reservoir Road, NW, Washington DC 20007

Tel: 1-202-965-5990,

Fax: 1-202-965-5996