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 10 th 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.”
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.”