Monday, September 24, 2018

Mexico meet to shine light on new scientific paths to eliminate TB

  • Nurul Islam Hasib from Guadalajara in Mexico,
    Published: 2017-10-12 01:42:22 BdST


A range of new technological advances in the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis will be unveiled for the first time over the next four days in Guadalajara in Mexico where the 48th Union’s World Conference on Lung Health is under way.

It is the world’s largest gathering of clinicians and public health workers, health programme managers, policymakers, researchers and advocates working to end the suffering caused by lung disease.

It is organised by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease or The Union. Organisers expect some 3,000 participants from more than 120 countries.

Of the 10 million people who die each year from lung diseases, some 80 percent live in these resource-limited countries.

This year’s conference theme, ‘Accelerating Toward Elimination’, will centre discussion around the global lung health agenda and the ambitious goals that have been set for the public health community working in lung health.

It will focus on how to accelerate toward elimination on multiple fronts: tuberculosis (TB) and co-infections, improving tobacco control and reducing air pollution.

Mexico´s Health Minister José Narro Robles will formally open the conference on Wednesday evening on behalf of President Enrique Peña Nieto.

But the scientific sessions has already begun and The Union briefed journalists about what would be the focus of the conference being held at the Expo Guadalajara Convention Centre.

Researchers will announce a digital revolution in TB technology could transform treatment for a generation of people living with the disease.

Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) is universally recommended to ensure Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Complex (MTB) treatment adherence.

New effective method of Wirelessly Observed Therapy (WOT) will be presented in the conference for better treatment adherence, Paula Fujiwara, Scientific Director of The Union, told journalists.

She said some key developments in new technologies that help to better diagnose and treat TB will be showcased for the very first time at the Union conference.

In addition, breakthrough results from a population-based study that investigates for the first time the relationship between TB infection and diabetes will also be presented.

“New technologies in the diagnosis and treatment of TB are going to be key if we are to accelerate progress towards eliminating TB,” said José Luis Castro, Executive Director of The Union.

“The world has committed to eliminating TB by 2030, but we have a very small window to move toward that goal. As this year’s conference will demonstrate, science, human rights and evidence-based policy must be at the heart of everything we do.”

TB is now the world’s leading cause of death from an infectious disease with 1.8 million deaths annually, having surpassed HIV/AIDS in 2015. Drug-resistant forms of the disease become a new challenge.

Over 10 million people per year contract the disease and TB is now in the top ten list of global killers.

Ending the TB epidemic by 2030 is one of the health targets of the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals.

WHO ranks Bangladesh as one of the 22 ‘high TB-burden’ countries. The UN agency says Bangladesh has high rates of migration and the transient population faces poverty, overcrowding and poorly ventilated living and working conditions, all of which allow TB to spread.

The conference will also shine a light on the political momentum gathering ahead of next year´s inaugural United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on TB.

It will feature a public community space – Encuentro – driven by communities involved in the fight for lung health.

A city-wide 10 km bike ride of hundreds of conference participants will also be held to raise awareness of the chronic air pollution issues in cities worldwide, the need for sustainable transport, and to assert the right of everyone to breathe clean air.