About The Union

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About The Union

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The Union: striving to end suffering due to tuberculosis and lung disease

The Union is a membership organisation, a technical organisation and a scientific organisation. We were established in 1920 and are led by people who are committed to our vision: A healthier world for all, free of tuberculosis and lung disease. Our members are organisations and individuals from all parts of the world.

We seek to achieve this by the generation, dissemination and implementation of knowledge into policy and practice. We aim to ensure that no-one is left behind, people are treated equally and we have a focus on vulnerable and marginalised populations and communities.

Members are the lifeblood of The Union

The Union relies on our members to provide leadership, influence and support to reach our common goal. Union members are part of a movement of like-minded individuals and organisations who work together to champion change for a better future in lung health.

Our areas of focus

Tobacco control

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The Union has helped:
• 3.82 billion people in 37 countries through smoke-free laws
• 3.87 billion people in 28 countries through higher tobacco tax
• 4.11 billion people in 33 countries through graphic health warnings

Know. Share. Act.

The Union’s approach to tackling the above global problems is unique; we start with developing knowledge through global research (KNOW), which we then share as widely as possible (SHARE) and turn that into the real action that is needed to save lives on a local level (ACT).

KNOW: We develop the knowledge base for public health solutions

  • We conduct clinical trials testing the efficacy of different treatment regimens for TB and TB-HIV.
  • We conduct operational research to help improving the delivery of health care.
  • We analyse health policy and develop policy frameworks for strengthening health systems and care.

SHARE: We share that knowledge with key stakeholders

  • We disseminate the latest research through our peer-reviewed journals, publications and other resources.
  • We offer courses building technical expertise, management skills and research capacity.
  • We convene conferences
  • We support a global network of members.

ACT: We take action to save lives

  • We deliver life-saving health services in areas of need.
  • We advocate for the policies and resources needed for strong public health.
  • We assist our partners in the delivery of effective public health services.

Official relations with the World Health Organization

The Union has been formally granted the role of a non‑State actor in official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Official relations” is a privilege that the WHO’s Executive Board grants to nongovernmental organisations that contribute significantly to the advancement of public health, and have a sustained and systematic engagement in the interest of the WHO, and have aims and activities which conform with the spirit, purposes and principles of WHO’s Constitution.



Victorien lives in Benin. He contracted TB at 18 years old. He was then diagnosed with MDR-TB, at which point he was included in The Union's nine-month study. He finished treatment in 2013 and went on to studying a chemistry, biology, geology degree at university.
Victorien is now active in outreach efforts to educate people about TB. He volunteers with the Red Cross to work on reducing the stigma and misinformation around TB in the community.

Photo credit: Will Boase / The Union