Sixth The Union Europe Region Conference on TB and Lung Diseases – event report

Lord Boateng encourages The Union Europe Region to unite in partnerships in its response to the challenges of TB and public health

Load Boateng speaking at The Union Europe Conference
Load Boateng speaking at The Union Europe Conference

The European Region was energised by Lord Boateng, former Chief Secretary to the UK Treasury and High Commissioner to South Africa, who spoke of the best practices in working with governments to harness political will and resources to respond to the challenges of TB and Public Health at The Union Europe Conference held at Imperial College in London on 4-6 July 2012. Lord Boateng said about The Union in his speech “your mission is a great one. You bring huge knowledge, experience and wisdom to the fight”. He encouraged The Union to “go back to its origins” and continue to “develop a response based on the principle of partnership” and engage locally to reach “the movers and shakers on the ground” to achieve successful health interventions.

Lord Boateng was joined by an exceptional panel of plenary speakers in Professors Ajit Lalvani from Imperial College, Christopher Dye from World Health Organisation and Dr David Heymann from the Health Protection Agency and more than 40 speakers from across Europe and beyond.  Nearly 450 delegates from sixty-one countries participated in a productive 3 day conference in London, which was host to almost one hundred attendees from Eastern Europe.

Subjects for symposia included TB in big cities, TB and Migration, Drug resistant TB, TB in the elderly and in Children, TB immunology and vaccines, Latent TB infection, HIV and mycobacterial diseases, Tobacco control, nursing, advocacy and civil society, New drug development in TB, hot topics in lower respiratory tract infection, COPD in Europe and tackling TB in poorly resourced but high burden settings. Poster sessions which were held on two of the three days added to the sharing of experiences and provided an avenue for informative discussion and debate, as well as post-graduate sessions held on the first day.

Group discussing issues during poster session
Group discussing issues during poster session

Professor Peter Davies, the newly serving President of The Union Europe Region was extremely pleased with the outcomes of the conference. Professor Davies commented “all symposia and post-graduate sessions were excellent and stimulated many questions and healthy debate from the highly participatory audience. We hope participants will be able to build upon new ideas, partnerships and networks formed from their attendance”.  The conference was supported by a number of sponsors and exhibitors without whom the conference would not have taken place, especially the host joint-organisers Health Protection Agency and The Union Europe Office.

A feature of the conference was the simultaneous translation offered in Russian in the main conference hall, which allowed further engagement and interaction by a large delegation from countries including Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

The Organising Committee hope that all who attended felt it was a highly successful conference and looks forward to continuing to advance partnerships across the European region and beyond.

Prepared by the Organising Committee of The Union Europe Conference

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