FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hepatitis B Foundation Kicks Off New International Campaign in Haimen City, China
(Multi-year Comprehensive Hepatitis B Outreach and Education Campaign in China Launched with Support of $400,000 Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation Grant)
DOYLESTOWN, PA (April 2011) – The Hepatitis B Foundation, celebrating its 20th anniversary as the global authority dedicated to eliminating hepatitis B worldwide, officially launched its Gateway to Care public health campaign in Haimen City, China on April 8, 2011 with city leaders. This new international program is made possible by a $400,000 educational grant from the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation.
The Foundation’s Gateway to Care program in China is a multi-year, citywide initiative that will raise public awareness about hepatitis B among its one million residents, educate hundreds of health care providers to improve screening and management of hepatitis B, and provide information and support to those living with this serious liver disease. The primary goal of the campaign is to create a model outreach and education program in Haimen City that can be readily adapted and duplicated in other cities to help reduce the enormous burden of hepatitis B in China.
Hepatitis B is the world’s most serious, common liver infection that chronically infects 400 million people worldwide. More than 100 million of those chronically infected live in China. Hepatitis B results in one million deaths each year and is also the leading cause of liver cancer, making it the 10th leading cause of death worldwide. In China alone, almost 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis B-related complications such as cirrhosis and liver cancer.
The Foundation’s ambitious Gateway to Care campaign was developed to address the growing severity of hepatitis B and liver cancer among Asian populations in both the U.S. and China. The Foundation selected two demonstration sites — Philadelphia and Haimen City — where it has a track of success and credibility with the cityís leadership and health organizations to launch its campaign. Philadelphia has the 12th largest Asian population of any U.S. city, with 219,000 Asian residents, and was a natural place to begin because it is in the backyard of the Foundation. In 2008, the Foundation initiated its national Gateway to Care program in Philadelphia to raise awareness and provide free education, screening and linkage to care by partnering with many community-based organizations.
With the support from Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundationís grant, the Hepatitis B Foundation is now able to expand its Gateway to Care campaign in Haimen City, China, which is located in Jiangsu Province, approximately 60 miles northwest of Shanghai. Haimen City was selected because it has one of the highest rates of chronic hepatitis B infections and liver cancer in all of China and the Foundation has a longstanding relationship with the city. Since the early 1990s, more than 13,000 individuals identified as having chronic hepatitis B, from an original cohort of 90,000 who were initially screened, have been regularly monitored by a team led by public health scientists who are now part of the Foundation. More than 1,200 of these infected individuals have since died from liver cancer. Today, the Foundationís new campaign will directly benefit patients and families through its comprehensive education and outreach efforts. With one of every four chronically infected individuals at high-risk for premature death from liver failure and liver cancer, a successful public health model in China will help save millions of lives.
The Foundationís Gateway to Care initiative in Haimen City will be led by Gang Chen, MD, PhD, Director of China Programs, who was born in the city and received his training from Shanghai Medical School (now Fudan University). Additional key Foundation members who will be involved in the campaign include: Joan M. Block, RN, BSN, Executive Director; Alison Evans, Sc.D., Director, Public Health; Chari Cohen, MPH, Associate Director, Public Health Research; and W. Thomas London, MD, Board Member and Senior Medical Advisor. The Haimen City Health Bureau, Haimen City Centers for Disease Control and Haimen City Hospital for Women and Children will be partnering with the Hepatitis B Foundation to implement its Gateway to Care campaign for the next three years.
About the Hepatitis B Foundation: The Hepatitis B Foundation, celebrating its 20th anniversary as the global authority dedicated to eliminating hepatitis B, is the only national nonprofit organization solely dedicated to finding a cure and improving the quality of life for those affected with hepatitis B worldwide through research, education and patient advocacy. It is headquartered in the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center, which it created to accelerate its research mission. To learn more, visit www.hepb.org or call (215) 489-4900.
About the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation: 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. To learn more, visit www.bms.com/foundation.
Page last modified April 25, 2011