Chinese, U.S. Agencies Help Hepatitis B Prevention in Northwest China
September 12, 2006
In a bid to stop the spread of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in northwest China's Qinghai province, the Chinese Foundation for Hepatitis Prevention and Control (CFHPC) and Stanford University's Asian Liver Center are offering free vaccines to the province's 60,000 children. The joint venture will also train local medical staff in HBV prevention and treatment.
The Qinghai Provincial Health Bureau said children will be vaccinated starting this month and ending next May at a cost of more than 2 million yuan ($250,000 U.S.). Li Yanming, head of disease control at the Health Bureau, said the program will work on raising awareness of HBV prevention among children in the province.
According to Li, the province has scaled up HBV vaccination in children and infants, especially since the government added it to the list of planned immunizations in 2002. Currently, about 85 percent of infants in Qinghai are vaccinated against the virus. Nationwide, 75 percent of babies were inoculated in 2004, compared with 60 percent prior to 2002, Ministry of Health figures show.
The Qinghai program is one of several launched by CFHPC and the Chinese Ministry of Health this year targeting HPV. Other initiatives include a two-year project to increase HPV prevention among rural woman and to help train health care workers in HBV treatment in rural areas. The pilot project will reach around 600 grassroots medical workers and 340,000 rural women of child-bearing age.
China has an estimated 120 million HBV infections out of a population of 1.3 billion. The Ministry of Health reports about 20 million Chinese have chronic hepatitis B, and 280,000 people die of HBV-related hepatocirrhosis and liver cancer each year.
Xinhua News Agency
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.