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Message from the Executive Director

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COVID-19: "The Union remains committed to fulfilling its mission to provide health solutions to those most at-risk”

José Luis Castro, 19 March 2020

As the world adjusts to the realities of the new coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, The Union remains committed to fulfilling its mission to provide health solutions to those most at-risk. While many people around the world are witnessing first-hand the hardship and disruption that an infectious disease can cause, for those of us dedicated to ending tuberculosis (TB) and lung disease around the world, this is in many ways familiar territory.

The Union, together with its members and partners, will continue to work together to support health systems and ensure that services for those seeking care for TB and lung disease are maintained in this time of uncertainty. We are lucky to have, on our staff and through our membership, a world-class team of experts in respiratory medicine, and we will leverage our resources, including our membership network, conferences, webinars and training programmes to support the global response to ending COVID-19.

The Union is working to compile a set of frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19 focusing on its impact on TB services and the people undergoing TB treatment, and guidance to maintain quality care throughout this period.

In order to share scientific research of immediate concern as rapidly as possible, The Union is fast-tracking accepted articles from the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IJTLD) regarding COVID-19 and publishing them in full on our website, prior to their publication in the Journal. Those articles and other resources are available in our COVID-19 toolkit on our website.

The Union remains committed to ensuring knowledge sharing and collaboration throughout this period. We are hopeful that the global situation will have returned to normal by October, in time for the 51st Union World Conference on Lung Health, but we will continue to monitor the situation and the potential impact on the conference closely. In the meantime, we encourage submissions of abstracts and sessions to the conference programme and can confirm that the broad dissemination of the latest research on TB and lung disease continues to be a core priority of The Union. We thank you for your support as we explore new ways to make this possible and adapt to the current global situation.

Our Union members, many of whom have been called upon to lend their expertise to the COVID-19 response, have mobilised in recent days to support The Union, just as they did in 1920 when they came together to build a coordinated global response to TB. Our strong network of members is one of our greatest assets as we navigate this difficult period together and I encourage you to stay connected with your Union and each other.