The first ever Europe Track of the 49th Union World Conference on Lung Health started with a session discussing tuberculosis (TB) in migrants in Europe
The sessions, developed in partnership with members of The Union’s Europe Region, shared experiences and challenges that are specific to the continent and invited delegates to focus on TB and lung health concerns that are particularly pressing in Europe.
Speakers from United Kingdom, Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Norway and Russia presented information on the issues surrounding TB in migrant groups, asylum seekers and disadvantaged groups.
Dr Jess Potter from Queen Mary University, London talked about the hostile environment for illegal immigrants in the UK. Her presentation showed very few immigrants will attend TB screening for fear of deportation and fines due to a data share policy between the NHS and the Home Office. The policy, which now breaks immigration rules, allowed the NHS to share patient data so the Home Office could trace illegal immigrants.
In a presentation from Connie Erkens, TB Specialist at KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, she said, “All migrants are screened post entry to the Netherlands. Healthcare is very accessible for migrants in the Netherlands however we still have difficulty to trace asylum seekers with less than 50 percent returning for follow up screening.”
The Europe Region track sessions this week also included:
- Collaborative TB-HIV activities in the World Health Organization’s European region
- TB in vulnerable populations groups in Europe
- Latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) in low incidence countries in Europe
- Innovative treatment for multidrug-resistant TB in Europe
- TB lab and epidemiology in Europe
- Drug safety and efficacy in Europe