Lord Boateng encourages The Union Europe Region to unite in partnerships to respond to TB and public health challenges
The Union was encouraged to “go back to its origins” and continue to “develop a response based on the principle of partnership” by Lord Boateng, the former Chief Secretary to the UK Treasury and High Commissioner to South Africa, who was the keynote speaker at the 6th Conference of The Union Europe Region, held at Imperial College, London on 4-6 July 2012.
In speaking about best practices for working with governments to harness political will and resources for TB and public health, Lord Boateng said: "The Union's mission is a great one, and you bring huge knowledge, experience and wisdom to the fight". But he also stressed the need to engage partners locally -- to reach "the movers and shakers on the ground" to achieve successful health interventions.
Other plenary speakers at the conference were Professors Ajit Lalvani from Imperial College, Christopher Dye from World Health Organisation and Dr David Heymann from the Health Protection Agency, in addition to more than 40 speakers from across Europe and beyond. Nearly 450 delegates from 61 countries attended the conference, including close to 100 delegates from Eastern Europe.
Subjects for symposia included TB in big cities, TB and migration, drug-resistant TB, TB in the elderly and in children, TB immunology and vaccines, latent TB infection, HIV and mycobacterial diseases, tobacco control, nursing, advocacy and civil society, new drug development in TB, hot topics in lower respiratory tract infection, COPD in Europe and tackling TB in poorly resourced but high-burden settings. Post-graduate courses held on the first day and poster sessions, which were held on two of the three days, added to the sharing of experiences and provided an avenue for informative discussion and debate..
Simultaneous translation was offered in Russian in the main conference hall, which allowed further engagement and interaction for a large delegation from countries, including Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukrain, and Uzbekistan.
Prof Peter Davies, the new President of The Union Europe Region, was extremely pleased with the outcomes of the conference. He said "all symposia and post-graduate sessions were excellent and stimulated many questions and healthy debate from the highly participatory audience. We hope participants will be able to build upon new ideas, partnerships and networks formed from their attendance".
The conference was supported by a number of sponsors and exhibitors without whom the conference would not have taken place, especially the host joint-organisers Health Protection Agency and The Union Europe Office.
The Organising Committee hope that all who attended felt it was a highly successful conference and looks forward to continuing to advance partnerships across the European region and beyond.
Prepared by the Organising Committee of The Union Europe Conference
Load Boateng speaking at The Union Europe Conference / Group discussing issues during poster session