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Ghana to host the 20th Africa Union Conference on TB

By Linda
Asante-Agyei, GNA

Accra, July 2, GNA – Ghana will host over 800
delegates from Africa and the diaspora to deliberate and find ways of fighting
Tuberculosis (TB) on the continent.

The 20th conference to be held at the Accra
International Conference Centre is slated to begin from July 10-13.

The theme for the event is: “Accelerating
Implementation Through Partnership to end TB, HIV/TB, Tobacco and other related
NCDs”. 

This year’s conference, which also marks the
50th anniversary of the Ghana Society for the Prevention of TB (GSPT), would
bring together stakeholders from the Africa Region and the globe to learn and
share the latest clinical, scientific, social and programmatic topics on
Tuberculosis, NCDs, TB/HIV Tobacco and lung related concerns amongst others.

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

He said the conference would provide the
opportunity for researchers, academia, scientists, policy makers, service
providers, politicians and civil society to share experiences to ensure that TB
and its related diseases were eliminated from the continent.”

“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”, Dr Bonsu said.

He said the agenda for the event would include
various symposia on host-pathogen interactions, Drug-Resistant TB, TB/HIV
Coinfection, 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”, Dr Bonsu said.

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 Danquah
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 and would be here to share his experience.

Dr Jeremiah Chakaya Muhwa, President of the
Union, said the Union’s Regional Conference would offer an important
opportunity for delegates to coordinate their responses to existing 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 said in marking the 50th anniversary
of the Union Africa Region, the Union would reaffirm the outstanding commitment
and passion of Union members to end TB, HIV and the related non-communicable
diseases”.

“And as we gather together, the first World
Health Organization’s Director General from Africa has assumed 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.”

GNA

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