The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) is the oldest international non-governmental organization involved in the fight against tuberculosis. This review documents the history and structure of The Union up to 2009, and describes the achievements that have taken place in the field of tuberculosis and lung health. The progress made in tackling the major killer (pneumonia) of children less than 5 years of age, the barrier to affordable essential asthma medicines, the complex issue of tobacco control, the move into the realm of HIV and AIDS, and new ideas and activities around the increasingly important domain of operational research are described and discussed. Finally, as with many institutions that have seen a rapid phase of growth, expansion and decentralisation to regional offices around the world, the review highlights the internal strategic initiative that aims to fine-tune the organisational structure, clarify lines of authority, create more efficient business, human resource and financial systems and revise, where necessary, The Union's guiding mission, vision and values for the future.
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