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IDPP Program Associate Speaks at World Conference on Lung Health

45th Union World Lung Health conference logoIDPP Program Associate Ms. Eloisa “Louie” Zepeda-Teng travelled to Barcelona, Spain, to present at the 45th Union World Conference on Lung Health from 27 October to 1 November 2014. This year’s conference theme is “Community-driven solutions for the next generation”, reflecting the conference’s emphasis on a multi-stakeholder approach to addressing and solving issues surrounding Tuberculosis (TB) and lung health.

As a former TB patient and advocate for TB patient rights, Ms. Zepeda was invited to speak at several events and engage with fellow TB patient rights activists during the six-day conference.

Ms. Zepeda began her multifaceted conference participation on 29 October by collaborating with a team from Explaintb.org on developing a Filipino version of their new smartphone application designed for healthcare workers. ExplainTB is seeking to translate their application into more than 28 languages, and Ms. Zepeda worked with programmers in converting the application’s TB-related content in the application from English to Filipino.

On 30 October, Ms. Zepeda participated in Symposium 16: “Community as partner: creating successful collaborations in TB control”, a symposium that focused on the challenges and successes in collaborative work between community based organisations (CBOs) and National TB Programs (NTPs). In her presentation, “TB patients on the frontlines”, Ms. Zepeda spoke about becoming a TB patients rights advocate and her work locally, regionally and internationally advocating for disability rights and disability policy as part of the IDPP.

The following day, Ms. Zepeda presented during Symposium 33: “TB patients: learning from the experience of those personally affected”. While the previous day’s presentation had focused more on her current disability and TB patient advocacy work, this presentation focused on Ms. Zepeda’s personal experience as a former TB patient and the challenges that TB patients often face due to poor prevention measures, diagnostics, treatment, and support services for patients with disabilities.

Ms. Zepeda received great praise from the symposia’s international participants. Her presentations and active participation in other conference sessions provided valuable insight into her work and excellent international networking opportunities for her continued work in TB patient rights advocacy.

The Union World Conferences on Lung Health attracted more than 3,000 public health professionals, policy-makers, and other experts from developing and developed countries to discuss various issues effecting lung health around the globe.

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