The Hague – Tuberculosis, a preventable and curable disease that killed 1.6 million in 2017 across the world, goes under spotlight of the 49th Union World Conference on Lung Health opened on Wednesday in The Hague.
“The unnecessary millions of deaths each year from TB is a global health emergency and requires urgent action,’’ Jose Luis Castro, Executive Director of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), organiser of the conference said.
“TB now kills more people than HIV/AIDS and is the world’s largest infectious disease killer.
“In 2017, 10 million people fell ill with TB, of the 1.6 million people killed by the disease in 2017, it is estimated that 239,000 were children.
“The three-day conference calls for a human rights approach and greater political commitment to eradicate TB and reduce the global threats of tobacco use, air pollution and other lung diseases,’’ Castro said.
The Union World Conference is the world’s largest gathering of clinicians, policy makers, public health managers, researchers and advocates working to end the suffering caused by lung disease.
However, the conference also focused specifically on the challenges faced by low-and-middle-income countries.
Some 4,000 delegates from over 80 countries are expected to attend.
The conference will look at scientific advances and the obstacles to developing safe and user-friendly forms of TB prevention.
Also, it will look at the delivery of drugs to treat the disease and strategies to address the barriers to making effective prevention and treatment available to all.
The United Nations held a high-level meeting on TB in New York in September which ended with a political declaration signed by world leaders committed to ending TB by 2030. (Xinhua/NAN)