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Ghana to host the 20th Africa Union Conference on TB

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."

Source: GNA