New Delhi: The International Union against Tuberculosis (TB) and Lung Diseases will convene its 50th Union World conference on lung health in Hyderabad next year, a move that will give impetus to the fight against tuberculosis in India—the country with the world’s highest TB burden.

Presenting the latest research into prevention, cure and vaccines, the world conference is expected to attract over 6,000 researchers, policy makers, health practitioners, political leaders, International spokespeople and representatives.

The conference ‘Ending the Emergency: Science, Leadership, Action’, which will be held from 30 October to 2 November 2019, the International Union against TB and lung disease said.

“It’s time to end the global TB emergency and that will mean holding governments accountable to the Political Declaration they signed at the UN meeting," Jos Luis Castro, executive director at the International Union, said in a statement. “In Hyderabad, we need to be seeing signs that we are seeing real leadership that is translating into both investment in diagnostic tools, new drugs and a vaccine and action on the ground."

For experts on TB in India, holding the event of this stature gains significance as India has the highest number of tuberculosis cases in the world with one in four people affected globally residing in the country.

The scale of the TB global health emergency was acknowledged by the United Nations during its high-level meeting on TB in New York in September. The meeting culminated in a political declaration signed by world leaders to eradicate TB by 2030.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has committed to eliminate TB in India by 2025.

“People still die needlessly due to TB despite it being preventable, treatable and curable," said Deepti Chavan, a tuberculosis survivor from Mumbai.

In India, The International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases is fighting the disease in partnership with Axysha, which engages all sectors to strengthen tuberculosis care and control in 128 districts across 14 states.

Financed by the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, the project was launched in April 2010. Axysha has till date reached over 48 million people, identified and tested 643,000 people and placed 70,000 TB patients on treatment and prevented many cases of infection.

“Project Axshya has been a lifesaver for so many people and shows what is possible in such a hugely challenging environment and it highlights just why it is so enormously significant that the Union world conference is coming to India," said Dr Jamhoih Tonsing, regional director at The Union’s South East Asia office.