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Shanghai, China, March 25, 2013

UCB and Project HOPE announced the inauguration of a program to improve medical care for children with epilepsy in China and to provide psychological support for their families. Through a network of ten children’s hospitals nationwide, including the world renowned Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, the project will encompass health education and professional training for pediatric neurologists on advanced epilepsy clinical diagnosis. The three-year project also aims to increase public awareness of epilepsy to reduce the social stigma associated with this disease. 

The World Health Organization states there are about 50 million people with epilepsy in the world and 42.5 million of them are in developing countries. In China, there are nine million people with epilepsy and about 400,000 new cases of seizures and epilepsy occur each year. The standard of care for such patients varies widely across the nation and it is estimated that about 50 per cent of people with epilepsy do not receive adequate care due to a lack of relevant knowledge in the workplace, at schools and in the wider community.  

“Patients with epilepsy deserve the same quality of care and respect as any other patient. In China, there is a lack of understanding about the disease and how to manage it. This can be especially difficult for young patients who suffer from discrimination in a society that is ill-informed about the disease, so epilepsy is also a public health and social problem,” said Dr. Li Shi Zhuo, Chairman of CAAE, and the senior consultant  of the program. 

The project, funded by UCB, will develop written materials for children, parents, pediatricians, neurologists, school teachers, public and media to create a deeper understanding of the disease, emergency care and other special needs of epilepsy patients. New networks will be established to give patients and family members a forum to discuss epilepsy issues with other families. 

“We are honored to partner with UCB to improve the knowledge and skills of professionals working with pediatric epilepsy patients in China. We believe that a deeper understanding within the medical community, the school system and local communities of the unique needs of pediatric epilepsy patients will improve the lives of children with epilepsy and their families,” said Stuart Myers, Senior Vice President, Project HOPE. 

The project will collaborate with health providers at schools to build a comfortable learning environment for children with epilepsy and to teach educators and students alike to dispel myths about the disease and improve public perception of epilepsy. 

“We are very proud to have this opportunity to give pediatric epilepsy in China the attention it deserves. There is a great opportunity to bring knowledge about the disease to patients and parents and to provide early access to treatment. We are very pleased to work with Project HOPE and the Technical Advisory Group to so that children with epilepsy can enjoy the kind of carefree childhood they very much deserve,” said Dr. Dirk Teuwen, Vice President Corporate Societal Responsibility UCB.

Project HOPE has been involved in efforts to improve the health of communities in China for 30 years through a strong partnership with the Ministry of Health and corporate partners.

China’s large population, diverse demography, and rapid economic development have created a growing need for health care services. Project HOPE currently has about 15 health projects throughout China addressing non-communicable diseases (NCDs), women's and children's health and strengthening health systems.

About Project HOPE
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 provides medical training and health education, as well as conducts humanitarian assistance programs in more than 35 countries.

About UCB
UCB, Brussels, Belgium (www.ucb.com) is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines and solutions to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases of the immune system or of the central nervous system. With 9000 people in approximately 40 countries, the company generated revenue of EUR 3.4 billion in 2012. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB).

Media Contact

Lily Hsu                   Tel. +86-21-38626113       Lilyhsu@projecthope.org.cn

Geraldine Carroll     Tel. 540.257.3746              gcarroll@projecthope.org

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