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Africa Conference on Lung Health to open in Accra tomorrow

By
Linda Asante-Agyei, GNA

Accra, July 9, GNA –
The 20th Africa Union Conference on Lung Health would be opened in Accra on
Monday, with more than 800 delegates from Africa and around the world
attending.

The four-day
conference would have delegates deliberating and finding ways of fighting
Tuberculosis (TB) and it related lung diseases on the continent.

The 20th Africa Union
Conference on Lung Health, which would be held at the Accra International
Conference Centre, would be on the theme: “Accelerating Implementation Through
Partnership to end TB, HIV/TB, Tobacco and other Related non- communicable
diseases (NCDs).” 

This year’s
conference, coincidentally, will mark the 50th anniversary of the Ghana Society
for the Prevention of TB (GSPT).

The conference,
described as the premier TB conference, would be attended by researchers,
health care professionals, public administrators, civil society, communities,
pharmaceutical companies and medical equipment manufacturers working on TB and
lung controls mainly in the African Region, America, Asia, and Europe.

It aims to contribute
to the health promotion of TB and lung disease control in the African Region
through research presentations, workshops and discussions.

The conference would
cover the areas of HIV/TB, tobacco, epidemiology, health systems, and advocacy
in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO), Stop TB Partnership
and other institutions.

Speaking to the Ghana
News Agency (GNA) in Accra, Dr Frank Bonsu, Conference Chair said Ghana hosting
the conference was historic, explaining that “the first Union Africa Regional
Conference was hosted in Ghana in 1967 and again: “we are hosting the 2017
conference to mark the 50th anniversary of the Union.” 

He explained that the
conference would provide the opportunity for researchers, academia, scientists,
policy makers, service providers, politicians and civil society to learn and
share the latest clinical, scientific, social and programmatic topics on TB,
NCDs, TB/HIV, Tobacco and other Lung Health.

There would also be
“Experience sharing and lessons learnt would help to ensure that TB and its
related diseases were completed eliminated from the continent”.

Dr Bonsu noted that:
“Ghana has over the years achieved a lot in the area of fighting TB with new
technologies and methodologies, which would be worth sharing with other
countries during the conference period”.

Topics to be discussed
at the conference would include various symposia on host-pathogen interactions,
Drug-Resistant TB, TB/HIV Co-infection, TB in vulnerable population,
communities and civil society, TB and innovative technologies, tobacco, asthma
as well as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases.

“We will also offer
several pre-meeting postgraduate courses including: laboratory and diagnostic
methods, MDRTB new regimen, Universal Health Coverage, Advocacy, Childhood TB
and Procurement and Supply Management”, he added.

Dr Bonsu who is also
the President of the GPST said scientists and inventors from around the globe
would also use the opportunity to meet the TB drug manufacturers and present
their research papers as well as exhibit their products.

He urged participating
countries to draw lessons, applicable to their peculiar situations, so that
together, “We will improve on the quality of care and eliminate this deadly
disease from our continent”.

Dr Bonsu said
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who is the Chief Patron of the GSPT would
be attending the conference to give the inaugural lecture.

He paid tribute to Dr
Nicholas De Heer, the only surviving member of the GSPT who played a key role
in the first Union conference in 1967.

He would be around to
share his experience.

Ghana’s TB Ambassador,
Ehunabobrim Prah Agyensaim VI, King and President of Assin Owirenkyi
Traditional Council would also be in attendance.

Dr Jeremiah Chakaya
Muhwa, President of the Union sharing his message with the GNA, said the
Union’s Regional Conference would offer an important opportunity for delegates
to co-ordinate their responses to existing and new challenges in global lung
health and connect the science community with broader networks and audiences.

José Luis Castro,
Executive Director of the Union said the conference would be a vital and
historic time for all those involved in the fight for lung health to share
ideas and experiences.

He noted the
anniversary would reaffirm the outstanding commitment and passion of Union
members to end TB, HIV, tobacco and the related NCDs.

“And as we gather
together, the first World Health Organisation’s Director General from Africa
takes office bringing new leadership and inspiration for our onward journey.

“It is against this
backdrop that we will come together to form new collaborations and share ideas
to achieve the ambitious 2030 targets of the Sustainable Development
Goals,” he said.

GNA

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