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Posted By: John P. Howe, III, M.D. on November 1, 2011

Labels: China , Chronic Disease, Health Care Education

Our first day of work in China was a day filled with reconnecting with long-time Project HOPE supporters and investigating new partnerships to better the health of the Chinese people.

HOPE’s newly elected Chairman, and Chairman of Merck & Co. Inc., Richard T. Clark and I, traveled to HOPE’s flagship program site in China, the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center (SCMC). The entrance to the hospital was bustling with families and children on their way to important check-ups, tests or lifesaving medical procedures. It was a vivid visual reminder of why we work so hard to form strong partnerships that help HOPE bring the best health care programs to those who need it most.

At SCMC, in the busy cardiac wing that opened in 2007, we met with some of the key staff of Sanofi, a global health care company. Project HOPE and the vaccine division of Sanofi already have a strong history.  Our conversation, with Stephen Doyle, Vice President of the Oncology Business Unit at Sanofi, and others on the staff who work with non-communicable diseases, revealed the many intersections of interests our organizations share and sparked ideas on how we can work together to improve chronic disease care in China.

We also had the privilege to meet briefly with a dear friend of HOPE, Dr. Liu Jinfen, the Director of the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center. In addition to his responsibilities as the hospital administrator, Dr. Liu is also a distinguished practicing heart surgeon and pediatric cardio-thoracic surgery professor. I congratulated Dr. Liu on the Joint Commission International accreditation received by SCMC late last year. SCMC is the only children’s hospital in China to receive the prestigious accreditation.

Project HOPE has always counted on local and national government support to help make our health education programs successful and sustainable. China is no exception.

We ended our day with an impressive meeting with Dr. Cai Wei, the Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Shanghai Committee. A surgeon by profession, Dr. Cai also serves as Vice President of Shanghai Jiao Tong University and is the Director of Shanghai Institute for Pediatric Research. He has supported HOPE’s work at the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center for more than a decade. Dr. Cai honored our delegation by meeting with us in an historic conference room in downtown Shanghai. We thanked Dr. Cai for his support of our Abbott Fund Institute of Nutrition Science program that has provided nutritional support to 2,884 pediatric patients and trained more than 900 pediatric professionals. The program has also expanded to seven other children’s hospitals beyond Shanghai and has helped improve the health of children in China’s rural areas, an important focus for Dr. Cai.

We look forward to tomorrow, when we will meet some of the brave young patients at SCMC. At the same time, we realize that the time we spend nurturing our strong partnerships and cultivating new ones, insures HOPE’s mission of providing Health Opportunities for People Everywhere.

John

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