Totalling more than $3.5 million, the grant will support care for high-risk patients with Hepatitis B & C
The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation announced nine new grants totalling more than $3.5 million to strengthen efforts in India and China in the fight against hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection by focusing on the most vulnerable, high-risk patient populations. The multi-year grants were made through the Foundation’s Delivering Hope initiative, which has supported more than 40 projects in India and China since 2002.
These new grants align with the WHO strategies for reducing the incidence of HBV and HCV infection through early diagnosis and screening of high-risk populations, including intravenous drug users and patients co-infected with HIV and/ or tuberculosis. Several focus on increasing awareness about disease transmission among healthcare providers who care for HBV- and HCV-infected patients, who also are considered at-risk for contracting viral hepatitis.
“Delivering Hope continues to increase its focus on HBV and HCV in India and China, the two countries that have the highest incidence of viral hepatitis worldwide,” said John Damonti, President, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. The following projects in India received the grants:
All India Institute of Diabetes and Research: A pilot programme in Mehsana and Sabarkantha, two rural districts in the state of Gujarat that have experienced HBV outbreaks, will expand HBV testing in public healthcare institutions, make vaccinations more widely available through a network of non-governmental organisations and hospitals, and train health care practitioners on injection safety and universal precautions against HBV.
MAMTA: Healthcare providers, including doctors, nurses, lab technicians and others who come into direct contact with hepatitis patients, will receive training in HBV and HCV risk assessment, disease prevention and risk management. Community-based programmes will target high-risk groups, including intravenous drug user and their partners, pregnant women and newborns. A health card will be issued to all high-risk populations to track their navigation to comprehensive health care services.
United Way of Mumbai: To help prevent disease in the hardest-hit and most-at-risk populations, medical interventions and extensive community education will take place in 18 slum areas in Mumbai. The project will adopt HOPE Initiative’s Center of Excellence School Health Program to educate students and their families about HBV prevention and control.
SAMARTH: As new grantees join the Foundation’s Delivering Hope initiative in India, proper monitoring and evaluation will ensure that programme goals are achieved. SAMARTH will conduct training activities to strengthen partners’ ability to self-monitor and evaluate their programme’s progress and provide objective information about program functioning, methodologies, effectiveness and impact, and identify potential gaps.
World Hepatitis Alliance: They will develop a new model of patient group creation aimed at physicians who treat viral hepatitis and engage them in creating and sustaining patient support groups.
The World Hepatitis Alliance will develop an e-learning tool comprising a video course and a text-based tool kit that will focus on the importance of advocacy to promote viral hepatitis awareness and prevention, the need for patient groups to be integral to advocacy, advantages to physicians of having strong patient groups, provide information about creating a patient group and supporting existing groups and map out support available from the World Hepatitis Alliance and other sources.
These learning materials will be housed on the World Hepatitis Alliance website and will be available to be hosted on other websites, including those operated by major international hepatology societies, to ensure wide distribution. The project will include China and India, but is more broadly aimed at the world.
EP News Bureau – Mumbai