Tuberculosis conference attracts criticism for exorbitant registration fee

The current 50th Union World Conference on Pulmonary Health in Hyderabad has generated widespread criticism for its exorbitant registration rates ranging from Rs 20,000 for a single day to Rs 32,000 for the entire conference for those in low and middle-income countries (LMIC). To add insult to the injury, despite such high rates, there was no agreement for food or beverages for participants in the five-star hotel, forcing many patients and activists to skip meals, as they could not pay Five star rates for food.

The cheapest food on offer, such as a croissant or brownie, costs Rs 250 and 500 vegetables. To put things in perspective, the Indian government grants 500 rupees a month as a food incentive for patients with drug-resistant TB, a participant said.

High rates have forced several doctors, public health activists and community workers who face tuberculosis to stay away. The bioethical Dr. Anant Bhan tweeted that despite being part of an accepted symposium, he decided not to attend due to ridiculously expensive registration fees. He pointed out that for a meeting that focuses mainly on tuberculosis, a disease of poverty and that is held in a place of low and medium income, it is atrocious to charge those fees. Even at reduced prices for LMICs, it is very expensive, he added. Bhan asked why this was considered acceptable by the TB community and said it was deeply disturbing that this is common. Health activists and many others responded to Bhan's tweet by saying that they also did not attend due to lack of funds.

The main organizer of what is one of the largest conferences on TB is the International Union Against Tuberculosis and lung disease called La Unión for short, based in France. In response to widespread criticism, the Union issued a statement on Friday saying that the average standard registration fee for the World Conference is 775 euros (Rs 62,000), which is set in the industry standard for similar conferences and that set at almost half, 400 euros (Rs 32,000), for those of LMIC. “This year, more than 1,300 delegates, or about a third of all conference delegates, paid this reduced registration fee. In addition to these discounts, The Union and our partners provided 270 free registrations this year, ”the statement added.

Community activists complained that they were made to feel excluded, since their place was in a tent outside the main conference venue without air conditioning or arrangements for bathing or food. “What TB control are they talking about when the community itself is not included? The place is so expensive that the most common people can't afford anything, said a community activist.

There is an immorality throughout this organization of a conference for the classic disease of the poor: tuberculosis, where we will deliberate on the best way to solve it, without changing the determining factors such as hunger and homelessness, Dr. Yogesh Jain tweeted by Jan Swasthya Sahyog in.

There was also a luxurious and opulent Centennial Dinner at the Taj Faluknama Palace in Hyderabad, announced as an event to raise funds for the Union's work in public health and research. “How many funds were raised? How much did the conference record bring? What was it used for? There has to be transparency in your accounts. Otherwise, it is simply a swag organized in the name of a disease that affects the poorest, Bhan said.