ACC Liverpool hosts world lung health conference

ACC Liverpool this week welcomed thousands of delegates to the Union World Conference on Lung Health.

The event is 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.

More than 3,000 delegates, speakers and researchers from 125 countries attended the four day conference which included the unveiling of significant scientific research.

The conference opened with a keynote address from Ambassador Stephen Lewis, co-director of AIDS Free World and former United Nations special envoy for AIDS in Africa. It featured a panel of Ministers of Health who reflected on the political commitments and actions in achieving the global targets of ending TB and tobacco-related diseases.

Activity included the lighting of three open fires inside miniaturised replica housing on the venue’s piazza to demonstrate air pollution and fire risks. Liverpool Homeless Football Club hosted a programme of mini football tournaments also on the piazza to encourage the participation of those communities affected by HIV/AIDS, TB and other lung diseases, as well as World Conference delegates and members of the public.

José Luis Castro, executive director of The Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), said: “It has been 95 years since The Union last convened a meeting in the UK.

“When The Union met in London in 1921 our organisation was a year old and antibiotics had not even been discovered yet. As we convene in Liverpool, we face new challenges – including a global health crisis in the form of drug-resistant tuberculosis.

“TB is a modern epidemic, and in Liverpool we will showcase the world’s best scientific and public policy solutions that will help the world finally end TB for good.

“It is fitting that we should return to the UK via Liverpool – a city that has been at the cutting edge of public health for many decades.”

Professor Bertie Squire of Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), past president and board member of The Union, was central to bringing the event to the city. He said: “I am delighted that The Union is in Liverpool for its 47th annual conference.

“Liverpool has a proud history of medical research and innovation, innovation which is still apparent today in some of the ground breaking research being carried out across its institutions and through their collaborations across the world.

“LSTM was the first school of tropical medicine anywhere in the world, and lung health and TB remains one of our central research themes, as does our aim to ensure that our research benefits poorer populations who need it the most.

“I am sure that the delegates enjoyed all that the city has to offer and found Liverpool a fantastic setting for this prestigious annual meeting.”

Kerrin MacPhie, director of conference and exhibition sales at ACC Liverpool, added: “This is a great example of city organisations working together with one of our ambassadors to bring a large international congress to the city which will generate £7.8m in economic benefit for the city region.”

Liverpool Waterfront