Environment and lung health are vital for sustainable societies
The 24th National Conference on Environmental Sciences and Pulmonary Diseases (NESCON 2018) will be held in Mumbai,
India during 24-26 August 2018. “Environment and lung health are inalienable, if we are to deliver on promises made in
National Health Policy 2017 (NHP 2017) as well as UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, said Dr Ishwar Gilada,
Co-Chair of NESCON 2018 and President of AIDS Society of India (ASI), which is a national network of doctors and
researchers in HIV care.
KERALA FLOODS ARE A GRIM REMINDER
“Heads of over 190 countries will meet at the 73rd United Nations General Assembly next month to debate on ‘sustainable
societies’. Two UN High Level Meetings (UNHLMs) to end TB and beat non-communicable diseases will also be held. Lung
health is directly linked to a clean environment. The recent Kerala floods are a grim reminder how environmental
disasters can threaten health security. Compared to other states in India, Kerala was faring better in a range of health
and development indicators, but environmental calamities pose a serious threat of upsurge in infectious diseases, if
urgent actions are not taken to avert them. Governments must ensure coherence between policies on lung health and
environment and prioritise protecting both, as they are critical for accelerating progress towards sustainable
societies. Lung health is also vital for ending TB as well as preventing other chronic respiratory diseases (which are
part of NCDs) to avert untimely deaths” added Dr Gilada.
ANIL KAPOOR - THE LUNG HEALTH AMBASSADOR!
It is noteworthy to underline that film-star and producer Anil Kapoor was made the Lung Health Ambassador at the 22nd
NESCON in 2016. Thankfully, with efforts of groups such as Forum for International Respiratory Societies (FIRS), within
a year, the first-ever World Lung Day was globally observed on 25 September 2017. Next month, in addition to World Lung
Day on 25th September, lung health must be in spotlight at the UNGA as well as UNHLMs, said Dr Gilada.
Dr Salil Bendre, co-Chair of NESCON 2018 said to CNS (Citizen News Service | www.citizen-news.org
) that since last 24 years Environmental Medical Association (EMA) has hosted annual national conferences on
environmental and respiratory diseases. “24th NESCON 2018 will be attended by over 300 doctors, researchers, scientists,
policy makers and planners from all across the country. Dr Randeep Guleria, Director of All India Institute of Medical
Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi, will inaugurate NESCON 2018 on 25th August. NESON 2018 will also felicitate and confer
Ati-Vishishtha Paryavaran Mitra Awards to recognize the contribution of Shri M N Deshmukh, senior advocate; Shri Quaiser
Khalid, Inspector General of Police, Mumbai; Dr S Utture, President, Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC); and Dr Sanjay
Arora, Director, Suburban Diagnostics.”
Eminent plenary speakers of NESCON 2018 include Dr KS Sachdeva, Senior Deputy Director General and in-charge of Central
TB Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India; senior respiratory disease experts such as Dr D
Behera from Chandigarh; Dr SK Katiyar from Kanpur and Dr Rajendra Prasad from Lucknow.
DRUG RESISTANT TB POSES MAJOR PUBLIC HEALTH CHALLENGE
Dr Salil Bendre shared that “AIDS Society of India (ASI) will be a part of NESCON 2018 and host brainstorming sessions
on HIV/AIDS and TB-HIV co-infection. Another highlight of NESCON 2018 is that a white paper on MDR-TB
(multidrug-resistant TB) will be released during the conference. MDR-TB has set-off alarm bells for public health. The
number of new cases of MDR-TB are not diminishing, rather drug-resistance is posing a danger of reversing progress made
in stopping TB. Academic discussions around latest guidelines for management of MDR-TB and other forms of drug-resistant
TB will be among the scientific highlights of NESCON 2018.”
TRIBUTE TO PROF Dr KC MOHANTY
The Environmental Medical Association (EMA) was a brainchild of late Professor (Dr) KC Mohanty, a doyen in the field of
TB and respiratory diseases, who died at 77 years of age last year. Prof Mohanty was a visionary who led from the front
and traversed all over India to spread his message on TB control, environment and lung health. He was a legend who
nurtured, mentored and encouraged thousands of doctors to wholesomely contribute towards the vision of TB free India.
Just a few months prior to his death he shared his vision on how three generations of his students have supported the
work he did: http://bit.ly/drkcmohanty
NESCON 2018 also aims to carry forward the legacy of Prof Dr KC Mohanty and host rich academic exchanges for improving
management and care of respiratory diseases.
NESCON 2018 appeals to the Prime Minister of India as well as all heads of over 190 countries who will meet at 73rd UN
General Assembly and UNHLMs next month, to prioritise stronger commitment and coordinated action on environment and lung
health, as a pathway to progress towards sustainable societies.
Bobby Ramakant, CNS (Citizen News Service)
(Bobby Ramakant is a WHO Director General’s WNTD Awardee and Policy Director at CNS (Citizen News Service). Follow him
on Twitter @bobbyramakant @cns_health or visit www.citizen-news.org