43rd Union World Conference on Lung Health

Distance was no barrier for the conference team in Paris who took up the challenge of organising the world’s largest meeting on lung health in Kuala Lumpur, discovers S Puvaneswary

The conference drew an impressive 2,600 delegates in attendance and raised US$140,000 in funding

Malaysia was chosen to be the host country of the 43rd Union World Conference on Lung Health due to its ongoing efforts to improve the health of its general population and its support for new medical research in the areas of tuberculosis and lung disease.

According to Nils E Billo, executive director of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (Union), other winning factors that swung the decision to take the world’s largest annual meeting on lung health to Malaysia were the opportunity to draw local delegates, the strong support from partners such as the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), the Malaysian constituent member of the Union, Malaysian Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis (MAPTB) and “the beautiful Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC)”.

The event aims to bring innovation, expertise, solutions and support to address health challenges in low- and middle-income populations.

Aptly themed Driving sustainability through mutual responsibility, the five-day conference featured speakers from 65 countries.

Significant highlights of the conference included the Run for your Lungs activity, which was jointly organised by the Union and MAPTB as a fun run that stressed the importance of lung health, as well as the launch of The Union Centennial Campaign for Research and Education.

Although the conference has been organised every year, Billo told TTGmice that there were challenges in putting it together.

He noted that the organising team was based in Paris, while the event was slated to take place in the capital of Malaysia.

“The distance…was a bit challenging. It helped that we had very strong support from MyCEB, G2 Public Relations in Kuala Lumpur, MAPTB, KLCC and the French-Malaysian Chamber of Commerce, as well as our Union staff at The Union Asia Pacific Office in Singapore.

“We also worked successfully with a number of local vendors and suppliers,” he said, adding that the organising team had to make several site visits to Kuala Lumpur.

All that long-distance coordination and intensive communication paid off, as the 43rd Union World Conference on Lung Health turned in a shiny performance report. It drew more than 2,600 world experts on lung health from over 122 countries. Some 200 Malaysian delegates attended and benefited from the conference.

Billo said: “We consider this an excellent turnout since these are difficult times economically for many public health organisations and advocates.

He also revealed that US$140,000 was raised at the 1st President’s Centennial Dinner, and the money would be channelled into research and education programmes.

“On the whole, this conference was highly rated and very successful. The standards of the facility, food, entertainment and settings were all very high, which left a very positive impression on our delegates,” he said.

MyCEB’s CEO, Zulkefli Sharif, said: “MyCEB was supportive of this conference as it facilitates the opportunity for professional development, knowledge exchange and best practices in the local and regional health sectors, particularly in respiratory health. This will impact positively on Malaysia as a model developing country.”

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