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November 07, 2012 at 09:00 AM EST
Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation Announces Centers of Excellence Conference to Share Insights from Asian-Pacific Community Groups on Viral Hepatitis Management in Honor of the 10-Year Anniversary of Delivering Hope™

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation and its partners today launched a Centers of Excellence Conference for Community Based Viral Hepatitis Interventions to share best practices from the flagship hepatitis program Delivering Hope, which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary. The Centers of Excellence conference is based on 10 years of developing strategies to raise awareness of hepatitis B and C and manage the virus in Asian-Pacific communities. The Centers of Excellence conference will convene Delivering Hope partners to share insights and best practices from past Delivering Hope grant recipients that can be implemented in local communities in order to improve the lives of those with hepatitis B and C.

The Asia-Pacific region is heavily burdened by viral hepatitis. It is estimated that China and India together have 123 million people infected with chronic hepatitis B and 59 million people chronically infected with hepatitis C.1 All countries in the Southeast Asia region consider hepatitis B and C urgent public health issues, however awareness of hepatitis is considerably low and many countries lack the resources to coordinate and implement programs to control the viruses or provide citizens with vaccinations for hepatitis B.2 Delivering Hope works to reduce these health disparities by funding and initiating program grants to increase awareness, treatment and care. To date, the program has awarded US $11.8 million in grants to 45 programs across the region.

“Hepatitis B and C are serious global health threats, especially in China and India, and are responsible for more than 80 percent of all liver cancer in Asia,” said Charles Gore, president, World Hepatitis Alliance. “The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation’s Delivering Hope program and its partners have funded research and pilot programs that have really affected policy decisions and made a big difference in how we approach prevention, care and support for those affected by viral hepatitis, as well as their families and communities. We must all work together to ensure that viral hepatitis continues to have a really high national and international priority.”

“The Delivering Hope program does just what it says: It gives hope for a better future to all those people in rural Asia at risk of or effected by viral hepatitis. But in fact it does more than just give hope. It’s delivered real tangible change to almost a million people in rural Japan, India, Taiwan and China.”

Charles Gore, President, The World Hepatitis Alliance

Through Delivering Hope, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation works to raise awareness of viral hepatitis B and C, reduce stigma, develop best practices for hepatitis B and C that can inform public policy, and build and enhance local partners’ capabilities. The program also encompasses capacity building for health care professionals and lay health workers.

Continuing the Legacy of Delivering Hope: Centers of Excellence Conference

Since partnering with Delivering Hope in 2002, the China Foundation for Hepatitis Prevention and Control (CFHPC) has already implemented nine community-based hepatitis education prevention and care projects in China. CFHPC and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation shared the experiences and lessons gained through this work at the Center of Excellence Conference in Beijing on Nov. 1-2, aiming to mobilize additional community stakeholders to sustain these programs and develop similar programs in their communities. Following the meeting, the Chinese Center of Excellence will use these best practices to execute similar awareness and prevention pilot programs, develop a toolkit that will include hepatitis B and C knowledge training, communicate with relevant authority groups such as the Chinese Ministry of Health and National and Provincial CDC, and act as a training center to share hepatitis B and C intervention experience.

In the past five years, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation has expanded its efforts considerably across India, providing more than US $4 million to support 18 grants in many states of the country. The work of the Delivering Hope grant recipients has greatly impacted their communities. A recent evaluation report developed jointly by several partners found that a rural health care provider training program implemented through a Delivering Hope grant improved rural health care providers’ understanding of illness and medication. Liver Foundation West Bengal, Hope Initiative in Uttar Pradesh and Hepatitis Foundation of Tripura have developed and implemented groundbreaking interventions in awareness, prevention, capacity building and promoting harm reduction. These groups shared their best practices with additional organizations at the Center of Excellence Conference in Kolkata, West Bengal, India on Nov. 4. As a next step, Liver Foundation West Bengal will consolidate best practices learned from the work of these groups, and package this, along with consultations with government and other role players in health care and hepatitis, for organizations with similar missions to use.

“One should be very careful because the liver is a very important organ and hepatitis is a silent killer.”

Dr. Kamala Kulshreshta, Senior Scientist, National Botanical Research Institute in Lucknow, India

“Over the past 10 years, Delivering Hope has benefited more than 8 million people, including students, women, lay health workers, health care professionals, migrant workers and the general public in both rural and urban areas. The program works to harness the power of local communities to enact change and progress for viral hepatitis,” said John Damonti, president, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. “The Foundation remains committed to this program and raising awareness to help fight this deadly disease. We look forward to seeing how the sharing of best practices through our Center of Excellence conferences can further extend the ripples of change that our partners have helped create into ever-widening circles of hope and promise for more people across the Asia-Pacific region.”

Delivering Hope will continue its work in Asia-Pacific countries to increase awareness and treatment for those at risk of or living with hepatitis B and hepatitis C. The Foundation will also continue to support Centers of Excellence conferences with the goal of sharing best practices for community-based partnerships that improve treatment and awareness for hepatitis B and C.

About Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) Foundation and Delivering Hope

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation is an independent charitable organization whose mission is to reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes around the world for patients disproportionately affected by serious disease. The Foundation accomplishes this by strengthening community-based health care worker capacity, integrating medical care and community-based supportive services, and mobilizing communities in the fight against disease.

Since 2002, Delivering Hope has awarded 45 program grants across Asia totaling US $11.8 million to 22 partners in mainland China, Taiwan, India and Japan.

The Foundation’s support initially focused on preventing 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, including the adoption of hepatitis B and C interventions and education in public health programs.

Today, the Foundation’s priority hepatitis B and C programs encompass capacity building for health care professionals and lay health workers, disease education and awareness, and sharing of best practices in the prevention and management of hepatitis B and C to inform public health policy.

“The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation has been around for more than half a century. It has done a lot of things in that time, but I think the important thing is responding to the emerging needs, to the unmet needs and really looking at addressing health disparities by strengthening community-based initiatives with a focus and understanding that there is great strength and value within the communities already to understand their problems, to own their problems and to come out with relevant solutions.”

Phangisile Mtshali, Director, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation

Beyond hepatitis, the Foundation focuses on HIV/AIDS in Africa through its SECURE THE FUTURE® program; diabetes in the U.S., China and India through its Together On Diabetes program; cancer in Central and Eastern Europe through its Bridging Cancer Care program; and mental health in the U.S. through its Mental Health and Well-Being program. For more information, visit the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation online at: http://www.bms.com/foundation/pages/home.aspx.

About Chronic Hepatitis B

Chronic hepatitis B is a serious global health issue. Worldwide, more than 2 billion people have been in contact with the hepatitis B virus and approximately 350 million people are chronically infected. Chronic hepatitis B can cause chronic liver disease and puts people at high risk of death from cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer. In some cases, a diagnosis is made too late and the only option is a liver transplant.3

About Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C (HCV) is one of the most common types of viral hepatitis, with approximately 170 million people chronically infected worldwide. Estimates show that between three and four million people become newly infected with HCV each year.4 Although there is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C, it is a curable disease.5

About Bristol-Myers Squibb

Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information, please visit http://www.bms.com or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/bmsnews.

References

1.

CEVHAP. Fun Facts about Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. http://www.cevhap.org/index.php/en/home/fast-facts-about-hepatitis-b-and-hepatitis-c. Accessed October 2012.

2.

World Health Organization. Viral Hepatitis in the WHO South-East Asia Region. http://www.searo.who.int/LinkFiles/Diarrhoea,_ARI_and_hepatitis_SEA-CD-232.pdf. Accessed October 2012.

3.

World Hepatitis Alliance. What is Viral Hepatitis? http://worldhepatitisalliance.org/AboutViralHepatitis/What_is_Viral_Hepatitis.aspx. Accessed September 2012.

4.

World Hepatitis Alliance. About Viral Hepatitis. Available at: http://www.worldhepatitisalliance.org/AboutViralHepatitis.aspx. Accessed 12 January 2012.

5.

World Health Organization. Hepatitis C. Available at: http://www.who.int/csr/disease/hepatitis/Hepc.pdf. Accessed 12 January 2012.

Contacts:

Bristol-Myers Squibb
Joanna Ritter, +33(0)1 5883 6509
joanna.ritter@bms.com
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