( June 2, 2008) Millwood, Va. — For 25 years, staff and volunteers from Project HOPE, an international health education and humanitarian assistance organization, have delivered much needed medicines and care to the people of China, as well as provided training to enhance the skills of the country’s medical professionals.
One of only five United States-based foundations officially recognized by the Chinese government, Project HOPE has partnered with Chinese leadership and Ministers of Health since 1983 to address some of the country’s most pressing health issues including children’s heart defects, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and nurse education.
“Project HOPE has been privileged to be a trusted partner of China’s government and health care leadership to create sustainable, long-term programs that have improved the health of the nation’s people and expanded the knowledge and experience of its health care professionals,” said John P. Howe III, M.D., President and CEO of Project HOPE.
Project HOPE was first invited to work in China by the Shanghai Second Medical University and Xin Hua Hospital to help establish a pediatric cardiovascular medical center. HOPE sent a group of volunteer physicians to train local cardiologists, surgeons and intensive care nurses and to show them how to build a pediatric cardiovascular program. This effort began the first of many Project HOPE health professional education programs in China.
While Project HOPE has influenced the delivery of health care and health education on a variety of levels in China, three accomplishments stand out: • The Shanghai Children’s Medical Center – one of the world’s premier children’s heart centers where nearly 2,500 children receive lifesaving heart surgery every year. •The China Diabetes Education Program – a health education initiative that has trained and educated more than 200,000 health professionals and patients. • HIV/AIDS Health Professional Education Program – this program decreased mortality of HIV/AIDS patients in Hubei Province by 72 percent.
Shanghai Children’s Medical Center (SCMC)
A crowning achievement of HOPE’s 25-year history in China is the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center (SCMC). Since 1987, HOPE has been a part of the SCMC’s development. At the time, there were no pediatric referral hospitals in China with the advanced capabilities and lifesaving technologies found in other pediatric hospitals around the world.
The purpose for building SCMC was to provide China with a state-of-the-art pediatric health care facility. Soon after its 1998 opening, SCMC became Shanghai’s pediatric center of choice and the country’s leading pediatric medical treatment center. It also became a national training center for health professionals, providing education opportunities in the most advanced techniques in pediatric medicine.
“Shanghai Children’s Medical Center was the first hospital in China to establish a Pediatric Cardiology Department and remains at the national forefront in the advancement of pediatric cardiology,” said Dr. Howe.
Project HOPE has obtained more than $30 million in medical equipment from its corporate partners for the hospital. The equipment, which includes items such as monitors and infusion pumps, as well as large scale imaging tools, are used to treat and save the lives of the more than 7,000 pediatric cardiovascular patients that come to SCMC every year.
In May 2007, Project HOPE and the Shanghai Municipal Government opened the doors to a new cardiac tower at SCMC that increased capacity to care for children with heart problems, as well as provided additional laboratory and training space for health care professionals. The tower allows for an additional 1,000 heart surgeries to be performed each year – bringing the total of pediatric open heart procedures to nearly 2,500 annually.
The China Diabetes Education Program (CDEP)
Project HOPE, with its corporate partners BD, Eli Lilly & Co., and Roche Diagnostics began the China Diabetes Education Program (CDEP) in 1998. The program developed diabetes education and training materials that have won strong support from the Ministry of Health and government at various levels.
The CDEP employs a training technique know as “train the trainer” to provide comprehensive diabetes education to local medical and health care providers. The program has trained trainers from 800 local hospitals and community care centers totaling nearly 37,000 medical professionals and about 170,000 patients with diabetes.
“The China Diabetes Education Program continues to be one of the most successful collaborative programs in our 25-year history of service to China,” said Dr. Howe. “It is an excellent example of a partnership between industry, a non-profit health education organization, local doctors and hospitals and the Ministry of Health.”
Last May, as a result of the program’s success, Project HOPE and its three partners agreed to continue the training effort for an additional two years. The extension will allow CDEP to increase public awareness of diabetes and the importance of better diabetes care. It will also provide an opportunity for CDEP to collaborate with the Chinese government’s effort to provide better community care with special focus on diabetes.
HIV/AIDS Health Professional Education Program
In 2003, at the request of China’s, Project HOPE developed a national HIV/AIDS conference at Wuhan University. Following the conference, Project HOPE began working with Chinese agencies to provide health care workers with HIV/AIDS education. HOPE trained physicians, nurses and other health care workers who had the greatest likelihood of caring for patients living with HIV/AIDS in the Hubei Province.
The professionals participated in intensive training and also learned instructional techniques that allowed them to train their peers. As a result of training efforts, the program decreased mortality rates of HIV/AIDS patients by 72 percent over a two-year period. The training helped medical professionals to better manage their patient’s disease and introduced antiretroviral therapy as part of the treatment protocols.
Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health problems with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Identifiable to many by the SS HOPE, the world’s first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now conducts land-based medical training and health education programs in 30 countries across five continents. For more information, please visit www.projecthope.org.
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