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Environment and lung health are vital

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.


“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.


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 | 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.


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.”


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:

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

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