49th Union World Conference on Lung Health

The Case

The 49th Union World Conference held in The Hague – the International City of Peace & Justice – has attracted a record number of participants and served as a vital meeting place for all those working on every aspect of lung health. With 4000 casualties a day, Tuberculosis (TB) remains the deadliest infectious disease in the world – despite being curable.
The 2018 conference theme, Declaring Our Rights: Social and Political Solutions, emphasised the fact that fighting TB requires a coordinated public health response that is driven by each individual’s human right to prevention, treatment and care.

During the four-day scientific programme, more than 1000 abstracts were presented. Major conference topics included innovations in finding and treating those living in the most remote places on earth, latest developments in fighting multidrug-resistant TB, tackling stigmatisation and TB amongst children. 
The local hosts of this conference were KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation and The City of The Hague.

Name of the organisation: The Union  
Name of the event: 49th Union World Conference on Lung Health
Date of the event: 24-27 October 2018 
Number of attendees: 3919 TB experts from 125 countries
Venue: World Forum The Hague

The City

In 1932 and 1967 the Union World Conference on Lung Health took place in Amsterdam. Now, this long-established event has returned to the Netherlands and selected the city of The Hague as the perfect location for its 49th edition. With the conference theme, Declaring Our Rights: Social and Political Solutions, The International City of Peace and Justice offered the perfect environment for discussing public health measures grounded in human rights. ­­

The Venue

World Forum The Hague is a full service venue and one of the leading international convention centres. With close to 4000 people attending the 49th Union World Conference on Lung Health and a programme that included 65 symposia, 15 workshops, 13 post-graduate courses, more than 150 different sessions, a large exhibition and separate meetings for Union members, World Forum The Hague utilised all of its facilities.   
World Forum The Hague’s proximity to two international airports (Schiphol Airport and Rotterdam The Hague Airport) made the conference easily accessible for all 125 attending nations. Moreover, thanks to the venue’s location between the city centre and Scheveningen beach, delegates could spend their free time exploring The Hague or catching a breath of sea air.

The Client

Drawing from the best scientific evidence and expertise, The Union works to advance solutions to public health challenges such as Tuberculosis, Lung Disease, HIV and Aids. With an influential network of rural health care providers, community volunteers and partner organisations around the globe, The Union pursues its vision of providing health solutions for the poor.
The Union’s sister organisation, KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, was the local host of this year’s World Conference on Lung Health. Having committed to fighting Tuberculosis in the Netherlands and the rest of the world for more than 115 years, KNCV presented some of their most impressive research results and innovative projects such as the OneStop TB-truck or a mobile clinic run by solar energy.

“What has made this event really special is the real connection between the theme of our conference, which is about social justice, and the fact that the city of The Hague is known as the City of Peace and Justice. We have this group of people that are trying to keep us healthy by taking us on runs, taking us for walks, making sure we eat healthy. So that’s something I’ve never seen at a conference venue so that’s absolutely wonderful.”

- Dr. Paula Fujiwara

The Support

This year’s conference was the biggest edition to date, meaning that a heavy involvement of the city of The Hague and The Hague Convention Bureau (THCB) was warranted along the organisation process. THCB helped with managing the exhibition, the coordination of the opening service, conquered various infrastructural and organisational challenges and functioned as the connector between the municipality and conference organisers.

With the theme, Declaring Our Rights: Social and Political Solutions, The Lung Health Conference found a perfect destination - The Hague. Coming back to The Netherlands for the 3rd time in its 100-year history, the event provided a platform for the latest science and policy discussions that inform public health measures grounded in human rights.