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MOH Launches Diabetes Program

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has kicked off a two-year program aimed at spreading diabetes care and education to benefit the 30 million who suffer from the disease in China.

Organized by Project HOPE (Health Opportunity for People Everywhere), an American non-profit organization, and co-sponsored by the American companies BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) and Eli Lilly, and the Swiss company Roche, the campaign is an extension of the China Diabetes Education Program (CDEP), which started in 1998.

The CDEP, which offers comprehensive diabetes training to local-level medical and healthcare providers, has so far established 800 local hospitals and community care centers and trained nearly 37,000 medical workers.

It has also helped about 170,000 people suffering from diabetes, according to Project Hope.

The new project will establish model diabetes centers in Beijing and Shanghai in conjunction with the People's Hospital of Beijing University, Zhanlanlu Central Hospital and Ruijin Hospital.

Wang Longde, vice minister of health, said the program would create "a practical and replicable community care model for the rest of the country" and "a mode for community diabetes management that is suitable for China".

A leading international organization devoted to sustainable improvements in healthcare, Project HOPE first came to China in 1983, when it facilitated a series of training sessions for medical professionals.

In 1996, the MOH approached the organization, informed it of the grave situation of diabetes in China at the time and said they "needed to do something about it," said John P Howe III, president and CEO of Project Hope.

Thus the CDEP was born.

It would not have succeeded without help from sponsors and leaders at the highest level of government, Howe said, noting that former president Jiang Zemin applauded the program in 2001.

"Diabetes is becoming the biggest epidemic of our time. With more than 30 million people with diabetes in China alone, it poses countless challenges," said Sanjeev Johar, a regional officer with Roche.

According to a WHO estimate, three-quarters of the 30 million diabetes patients still do not know they have the disease, which is why more community healthcare is needed, Kathleen Wishner, a senior medical director with Lilly involved with the program, told China Daily.

(China Daily June 7, 2007)

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