Posted By: John P. Howe, III, M.D. on October 18, 2010

Labels: China , Global Health Expertise, Health Care Education, Partners, Health Systems Strengthening

It is easy to be intimidated by the numbers in China.

  • 1.3 billion – Population of China, the most populous country in the world.
  • 20 million – Approximate population of Shanghai, the largest city in the world and the first stop on my visit to China.
  • 1.032 million – Attendance at the Shanghai World Expo on my first full day in the city. This number represents the largest single-day attendance since the Expo opened in May of this year and the largest single-day attendance in the history of World Expos.

Impressive numbers, absolutely – but in those numbers lay tremendous opportunity for Project HOPE and our partners.

On my first day in Shanghai, I had the privilege to open the Abbott Nutrition Forum that was attended by more than 100 physicians, nurses and dieticians from across China – some traveling as many as six hours by air to be in attendance.

The Forum celebrated the tremendous success of a powerful partnership between the Abbott Fund, Shanghai Children’s Medical Center and Project HOPE, known as the Abbott Fund Institute of Nutrition Science (AFINS).

Speaking of numbers, the AFINS has delivered very impressive results in the first three years of the partnership.

  • 50,000 – Children and families who have benefitted from educational materials prepared by the AFINS.
  • 1,500 – Health care professionals who have received nutrition training at the AFINS and who have returned to their hospitals to train thousands more.
  • 35 – Number of hospitals throughout China represented by the AFINS trainees.
  • 17 – Chinese provinces that trainees have come from to attend the AFINS training.

While these numbers too are impressive, I am reminded that it is the individual – the doctor, the nurse, the mother or the child –that ultimately benefits from our programs.

At the Abbott Nutrition Forum, I shared the story of Dr. Li Huai-Yu, the Vice Director of the Pediatric Emergency Department at Ningxia Medical University, who recently completed nutritional training at the AFINS.

Upon returning to his hospital, Dr. Li treated a three-year-old child suffering from dehydration caused by frequent diarrhea. The child did not respond to previous remedies, and the situation was worsening. Because of Dr. Li’s training, he correctly diagnosed a milk allergy. He immediately changed the child’s diet, and the child’s health improved rapidly.

Yes, the numbers in China may be daunting. But I am optimistic and encouraged by the potential health benefits that HOPE brings to China and to the world. With dedicated partners like Abbott, together we can influence the “one” who then will improve the lives of millions through increased knowledge and enhanced care.


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