Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation Delivering Hope Program has committed US$ 2,223,295 to support efforts to combat Hepatitis B & C in India
Liver Foundation, West Bengal is coordinating a first of its kind collaboration among public health facilities to assess the impact of liver disease and in particular hepatitis C on Indian health care system, the organization announced today in New Delhi.
HCV: The Indian Face and Action is a two year operational research project that is first serious attempt to assess the impact of liver disease and hepatitis C in order to be able to advocate for robust viral hepatitis awareness, prevention and educational programs. The project, launched early this year is supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation (BMSF) Delivering Hope Program through a grant of about Rs. 1.95 crore [US$415857] also aims improve diagnosis skills for 500 blood bank & laboratory technicians while enhancing prevention efforts among high risk groups.
“WHO estimates that it cost between one and three US dollars to prevent Hepatitis B through vaccination but we know it costs about US$5000 to treat a person with hepatitis B infection. For hepatitis C, there is no vaccine but it is curable and therefore awareness and prevention efforts should be paired with early detection, hence our training of laboratory technicians,” says Dr. Abhijit Chowdhury, Secretary-Liver Foundation West Bengal who is leading this consortium.
“Through this initiative we aim to inform public health policy regarding the significance and impact that a liver disease has, HCV in particular, in the general population. Additionally, we would work to foster coordinated HCV prevention and awareness activities through action targeted at key risk populations in awareness or scientific understanding and transmission”, he added.
BMSF Delivering Hope has committed an amount of about Rs. 10.5 crore [US$2,223,000] to eight non-profit organizations partners across India since 2007. In the year 2010, BMSF would support ‘Americares India Foundation’ in Mumbai, ‘Baptist Christian Hospital’ in Tezpur in addition to HCV: The Indian Face and Action to enhance awareness on Hepatitis in the country. Institute of Development Studies, Kolkata has taken an endeavor to assess the impact of the intervention conducted by Liver foundation, West Bengal which has been also supported by BMSF.
“The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation has a long track record of harnessing expert resources and community support to bring measurable advances in the response to public health threats such as Hepatitis and HIV around the world.” said Mr. John Damonti, President, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. “Our Delivering Hope Program builds on our expertise and commitment in addressing health disparities to help coordinate the response to hepatitis in countries where the need is the greatest.”
The project aims to determine the footfall in hospitals due to liver diseases and also map the healthcare resource utilization patterns in liver diseases in India. Initiatives will be undertaken to spread awareness on HCV prevention and care through action targeted at key risk populations.
About Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a virus that infects the liver and is transmitted through direct contact with blood. An estimated 170 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C, and of these 94.5 million people live in the Asia Pacific region. One to five percent of people with chronic infection will develop liver cancer. Although there is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C, it is a curable disease.
About Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation and BMSF Delivering Hope Program
The mission of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation is to help reduce health disparities by strengthening community-based health care worker capacity, integrating medical care and community-based supportive services, and mobilizing communities in the fight against disease. The Foundation’s work related to hepatitis in Asia represents a significant part of Bristol-Myers Squibb Delivering Hope: Awareness, Prevention and Care program. To date, the Foundation has supported projects in China, Taiwan, India and Japan that primarily focus on hepatitis B and C with a total commitment of more than US$7 million.
Since 2002, the Foundation has supported efforts in Asia, initially focusing on prevention of mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B and promoting hepatitis B immunization in China. In 2006, the Foundation expanded those efforts to provide broader support for hepatitis B and C awareness, prevention and education as well as adoption and integration of hepatitis B and C interventions and health education in public health programs. India and China were identified as priority countries for Delivering Hope.
Today, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Delivering Hope Program encompasses capacity building for health care professionals and lay health workers, disease education and awareness, and sharing of best practices in the prevention of management of hepatitis B and C to help inform public health policy.
Beyond hepatitis, the Foundation also focuses on HIV/AIDS in Africa through its SECURE THE FUTUREÒ program, cancer in Europe as well as serious mental illness and diabetes in the United States. www.bms.com.
For more information contact Mr. G K Raman, Director-External Affairs, Bristol-Myers Squibb @ 0-9711880071 or email@example.com
About Liver Foundation, West Bengal
Liver Foundation, West Bengal (LFWB) is a voluntary, non-government organisation (NGO) registered under the Societies Act 1961. It was founded on June 30, 2006 by a group of health professionals and social activists. Its primary objective is to take the benefits of the advances of medical sciences to the socio-economically backward sections of India.
Liver Foundation's (LFWB) key goals are:
1) To spread awareness among the people at large about various aspects of liver diseases in a language that is easily understandable,
2) To identify the socio-cultural roots of the existing inequity within India's healthcare system, in terms of access, organisation and functioning, and
3) To facilitate the availability of the technology-dense advanced medical care in liver diseases to people who are unable to afford it.
For More information contact Dr. Partha S Mukherjee, Project Director, Liver Foundation, West Bengal @ 09830356780 or firstname.lastname@example.org