Hon. Dr. Rajitha Senarathne at the World Conference on Lung Health focuses on TB and Tobacco
The 47th Union World Conference on Lung Health, 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, was held in Liverpool from 26-28 October 2016. The Conference with a 98 year old history focusses specifically on the challenges faced by the low- and middle-income countries, where 80 per cent of the 10 million people who die from respiratory related illnesses, each year, live.
This year’s conference had as its theme “Confronting Resistance: Fundamentals to Innovations”, addressing a number of critical areas for discussion. These included the growing problem of resistance to existing TB drugs which is one of the most important challenges facing us today. Further, reflections were made on the global tobacco control work, which requires coordinated efforts to confront resistance from the powerful tobacco industry. Discussion also focused on the introduction of innovative policies needed to de-normalize and reduce tobacco use.
At the Ministerial Sessions, Ambassador Stephen Lewis delivered the keynote speech which included a list of 10 actions needed for a holistic plan to eliminate TB for good. Hon. Dr. Rajitha Senarathne, in his address elaborated on the TB status in Sri Lanka and the measures taken by the government to eradicate the disease. He also discussed the government’s effort in reducing tobacco smoking in the country and wide measures taken in this regard.
This year’s Conference attracted nearly 4000 delegates from more than 138 countries and brought together recognized global experts and opinion formers. There were nearly 150 sessions offered by this four-day scientific programme.