By Christabel Addo, GNA
Accra, July 14, GNA - The 20th Union Africa conference on lung health, has ended in Accra with a challenge to participants to work in the spirit of Pan-Africanism to address the continent’s unique wellness problems.
Dr Muyabala Munachitombwe-Muna, the President of the Union Africa Region, commended the delegates and resource persons for their insightful contributions towards accelerating implementation of policies and programmes to end Tuberculosis (TB) and other lung-related diseases.
He also commended the local, international and scientific Organising Committees, as well as the host country for the hard work done to ensure the smooth running of the conference, and also the sponsors for their technical and financial assistance.
He described the event, which coincided with the 50th Anniversary of the Union Africa Regional conference which were hosted every two years, and had its first roots to Ghana, as very successful and historic.
The four-day conference which was on the theme: “Accelerating implementation through partnerships to end TB, HIV/TB, Tobacco and related NCDs,” had more than 800 delegates involving scientists, researchers, academia and civil society groups from North America, Asia Pacific, Europe and Africa, to share knowledge, experiences and chart a new course to ensure lung health and end TB by 2030.
He urged the Union members to double their efforts by remaining resolute in their fight against TB and all the other related lung diseases, and to be solution creators and problem solvers in their respective continents.
Dr Munachitombwe-Muna said the conference provided a platform to evaluate progress so far, enhanced the capacities of civil society to enable them to effectively engage with policy makers and get their support and understanding on the need to commit more resources to end TB by 2030.
He, however, said a lot more emphasis must be laid on preventive methods at conferences empower medical staff and other health care professionals with the requisite knowledge on TB and lung health in general and address the issue of stigma through intensified public education, to help find the missing cases of diseases for effective treatment.
Dr Frank Bonsu, who was the Conference Chair and also President of the Ghana Society for the Prevention of TB, said there was a total of 253 abstracts on varied topics from 35 countries, in 19 sessions.
He said it was hoped that having defined the huge continental burden of TB where statistics shows that 2.7 million new TB cases were recorded annually, 226,667 new cases every month, 7,452 new TB cases every day and 311 new TB cases die every hour, there was the urgent need to strengthen partnerships to address the gaps for effective outcomes.