MDR-TB, tobacco control, Lung diseases to be in focus at 2012 global meet. By SHOBHA SHUKLA

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More than 3,000 lung health experts and advocates from countries around the world will come together at the 43rd Union World Conference on Lung Health in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to discuss the latest opportunities and challenges in the fight against lung disease. The conference organised by the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), will be held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre from 13th to 17th November 2012.
The Union World Conference is the largest annual meeting focusing on lung health issues as they affect low- and middle-income countries. This year’s theme is “Driving Sustainability through Mutual Responsibility”, highlighting the need for the health care community, governments, donors, civil society and patient advocacy groups to work together to sustain progress and reach international targets for lung health.
Lung diseases currently cause some 10 million deaths a year, with more than 80% occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Key challenges that will be discussed at the conference include:
* The rising incidence of drug-resistant tuberculosis, including the threat of an incurable totally drug-resistant TB
* The needs of 2 million patients who require simultaneous treatment for both tuberculosis and HIV each year
* The increase in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is predicted to become the 3rd leading cause of death by 2030 – and how to reduce the impact of the major risk factor: tobacco use
* The neglect of childhood lung diseases: including pneumonia (the leading killer of children under 5), childhood TB (widely undiagnosed, treated and monitored), asthma (poorly funded despite being the most common chronic condition among children), and acute lower respiratory infections (often caused by indoor air pollution from solid fuel used inside for cooking, heating and light)
* The pandemic of diseases caused by tobacco use that kills more than 5 million people each year
The five-day scientific programme involving presenters from 65 countries will include more than 150 postgraduate courses and workshops, symposia, plenary sessions, abstract-driven and poster-related sessions, meet-the-experts and a late-breaker session on TB research. Highlights will also include lectures/presentations on The Global Epidemic of Multidrug-Resistant TB; Global Burden of Respiratory Disease; Childhood TB; and Preparing the workforce for the responsible rollout of new tools.
An on-site team of Citizen News Service (CNS) will report from this conference. More details about the 43rd Union World Conference on Lung Health may be found on the conference website at www.worldlunghealth.org
(The author is the Managing Editor of Citizen News Service (CNS). She is a J2J Fellow of National Press Foundation (NPF) USA. She received her editing training in Singapore, has worked earlier with State Planning Institute, UP and taught physics at India's prestigious Loreto Convent. She also authored a book on childhood TB (2012), co-authored a book (translated in three languages) "Voices from the field on childhood pneumonia" and a report on Hepatitis C and HIV treatment access issues in 2011. Email: shobha@citizen-news.org, website: http://www.citizen-news.org)

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