BMS Foundation Awards Nine Grants to Support Hepatitis Patients in India and China
The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation has announced nine new grants totaling more than USD 3.5 million to strengthen efforts in India and China and India in the fight against hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection by focusing on the most vulnerable, high-risk patient populations.

The multi-year grants were made through the Foundation’s Delivering Hope initiative, which has supported more than 40 projects in India and China and India since 2002.

These new grants align with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) strategies for reducing the incidence of HBV and HCV infection through early diagnosis and screening of high-risk populations, including intravenous drug users and patients co-infected with HIV and/or tuberculosis. Several focus on increasing awareness about disease transmission among health care providers who care for HBV- and HCV-infected patients, who also are considered at-risk for contracting viral hepatitis.

Viral hepatitis is an urgent public health issue in Asia. In India and China together, it is estimated that more than 123 million people are infected with chronic hepatitis B and about 60 million with hepatitis C. Although progress has been made in introducing national policies to control the spread of HBV and HCV, community and general awareness is considerably low. When left untreated, viral hepatitis infections result in liver failure and chronic liver disease that can create a significant burden on families and society.

Last year, Delivering Hope established two Centers of Excellence one in China and two in India, which are scaling up and replicating achievements in hepatitis awareness, prevention and treatment from past Foundation grantees, including several organizations receiving new grants.

“Delivering Hope continues to increase its focus on HBV and HCV in India and China India, the two countries that have the highest incidence of viral hepatitis worldwide,” said John Damonti, president, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. “Working with the Foundation’s Centers of Excellence in these countries, our grantees are using successful evidence-based practices to support the WHO’s efforts at raising awareness and prevention of viral hepatitis among the most vulnerable and high-risk populations, training the health care professionals who care for these patients and increasing vaccinations and testing, all of which continue to build health care capacity and support strong community models for hepatitis prevention and control.”