Ahead of World TB Day, the 48th Union World Conference on Lung Health launched in Guadalajara, Mexico

At a press conference held in Guadalajara, Mexico, today (16 March), the 48th Union World Conference on Lung Health was officially launched, just ahead of World TB Day on 24 March.

Today’s event announced that renowned Mexican international footballer, Andrés Guardado, whose Foundation works with underprivileged children in Guadalajara, would be the official ambassador of the conference. 

In a recorded video message, Guardado said “I am thrilled to be the official ambassador for an event like the 48th Union World Conference on Lung Health that helps us all understand and find solutions to lung health issues, especially affecting marginalised communities.”

The conference, which has as its theme, Accelerating Toward Elimination, will be held on 11-14 October this year and will be one of Latin America’s most significant health gatherings to date, bringing together some 4000 health care professionals, politicians, civil society members and  other prominent figures to tackle issues related to tuberculosis (TB) and lung health, including tobacco use and air pollution, that affect, in particular, people living in poverty.

Attending today’s press conference was Dr Antonio Cruces Mada, Secretary of Health of the State of Jalisco and José Luis Castro, Executive Director of The Union.

“The 48th Union World Conference on Lung Health comes at a pivotal time in global health,” said José Luis Castro. “Ministers of Health from around the world will meet at the global ministerial forum in Moscow to explore how to accelerate progress towards the target of ending the TB epidemic by 2030, as set out in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the WHO End TB Strategy. And in 2018, the United Nations will hold for the very first time a high-level meeting aimed at producing lasting government commitments that lead us to defeating the disease once and for all.”

The world conference will also focus on issues around tobacco control and tobacco use, a particular challenge for the region.  In Mexico, 16.4% of the population 15 years or older (14.3 million people) are currently smokers, according to Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2015. Tobacco use in Mexico claims 46,400 lives each year.

For Mirta Molinari, Director of The Union´s Mexico Office and Coordinator of Tobacco Control in Latin America, it is imperative that progress is made in addressing these statistics and improving tobacco control policies. She said:

“Mexico does not yet have a comprehensive national smoke-free law, which is essential if we are to effectively de-normalise smoking nationwide.”

Other speakers at today’s launch included Jesús Felipe González, General Director of the National Centre of Preventive Programmes and Disease Control at the Mexican Federal Ministry of Health, and Gustavo Staufert Buclon, Chief Executive Officer of the Guadalajara Convention and Visitor´s Centre.

Registration for the 48th Union World Conference on Lung Health opens on World TB Day: 24 March 2017

More information is available on the conference website: guadalajara.worldlunghealth.org

Watch Andrés Guardado’s video message

The message, in Spanish, is available here with transcripts in French, English and Spanish.

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