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BMS Foundation allots $1 mn to eradicate hepatitis in China, India
Bangkok, Feb 18, 2011: The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, an independent charitable organization, has awarded four new grants to help improve awareness, prevention and care of hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV) in China and India. The grants total nearly $1 million and bring the Foundation's commitment to reducing hepatitis-related health disparities in Asia to $8 million over the past three years.
The grant recipients were announced at the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver (APASL) 2011 Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, where leaders in the hepatology field gathered to promote scientific advancement and education in the Asia Pacific region.
The mission of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation is to help reduce health disparities in communities where the need is greatest. China and India together have an estimated 123 million people chronically infected with HBV and 59 million people chronically infected with HCV, accounting for almost 50 percent of all HBV and HCV infections worldwide.
The Foundation's work related to hepatitis in Asia falls under the Delivering Hope:Awareness, Prevention and Care umbrella program. To date, Delivering Hope has supported 32 program grants across Asia, specifically 14 grants in mainland China, three in Taiwan, 12 in India and three in Japan.
"Our four new grant recipients reflect the best use of resources to reduce hepatitis B and C-related disparities in China and India. They mobilize, serve and strengthen their local communities' healthcare armament in the fight against these diseases," said Mr John Damonti, president, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation.
"We look forward to improved hepatitis awareness, prevention and care in these countries' communities, as well as to applying our key learnings from these programs in other countries," he added.
In keeping with the Foundation's commitment to sharing lessons learned, funding recipients will prepare a comprehensive final report at the completion of their projects. These reports will be shared with the HBV and HCV community to enhance the body of knowledge on hepatitis prevention, care, and support.
Chinese grant aims to encourage policy initiative
Approximately 40 million people are infected with HCV in China, which led the Chinese government to declare it as an urgent public healthcare issue. HCV prevalence is estimated to grow rapidly, and its associated complications such as liver disease, cirrhosis and cancer, are a growing health concern.
The Chinese grant winner, the Wu Jieping Medical Foundation, will conduct an operational study of the socio-economic burden of HCV patients and their families in China. The study will aim to recommend policies that will improve prevention and access to care. The grant will also fund a comprehensive intervention program for a cohort of HCV patients.
India grants provide hepatitis education, vaccination
India is one the fastest growing economies with approximately 25-30 percent of the population living below the poverty line. More than 30 million people in India are infected with HBV and 19 million are infected with HCV. The Foundation has awarded three grants to India-based organizations. United Way Mumbai will conduct an extensive HBV and HCV awareness campaign targeted at college students and high-risk groups. The campaign will promote HBV vaccination, HBV and HCV diagnosis and early referral to care. The Hepatitis Foundation of Tripura in conjunction with the government of Tripura will institute at-birth HBV vaccinations and train healthcare professionals and community groups on disease education for mothers and their families.
The Health Oriented Programs and Education (HOPE) initiative of the Foundation is a public-private partnership that will provide HBV education for school children in Uttar Pradesh, in the hope of spreading awareness among local communities. The Uttar Pradesh government has endorsed the program and will be an active partner in developing it across India's most populous state.
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