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Global NGO Project HOPE Launches Education Initiative on HPV Infection Prevention in China

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MILLWOOD, Va., April 24, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The global NGO, Project HOPE today launched a wide ranging program in China to raise awareness about HPV infection in an educational program ultimately designed to reduce cervical cancer rates.

The global health education and humanitarian assistance organization will target health providers in hospitals, schools and members of the public and media in the campaign, which will empower women who are vulnerable to the disease, as well as medical professionals on the frontline.

In China, there are more than 75,000 new cases of cervical cancer each year. In 2010, HOPE collaborated with the Ministry of Health to implement cervical cancer screenings for early detection and treatment among women. Recent studies show that, although the screening process is now in place, there is still less than optimal awareness of HPV infection's link to cancer and, among health care providers, the awareness of HPV vaccine as a means of cancer prevention. In addition, the awareness and acceptance of HPV vaccine among young people and their parents have been shown to be low, further hampering efforts to speed up the rate of prevention.

The goal of the initiative, supported by MSD, known as Merck in the United States and Canada, goes beyond the issue of HPV vaccine and is intended to reduce the rate of cervical cancer mortality and morbidity by empowering young women and thereby improving the health care system's ability to prevent HPV infection. The initiative aims to the following:

• Increase knowledge and awareness of HPV prevention for health care providers
• Enhance awareness of HPV prevention for parents seeking pediatric services at seven associated children's hospitals
• Provide HPV infection and prevention education to school-based health officers from select school systems
• Increase public awareness and reduce social stigma associated with HPV infection through education sessions for media reporters so that correct HPV infection prevention messaging can be shared with the public

To carry out the initiative, HOPE will build upon existing technical resources used in its cervical cancer prevention program which has been underway in China since 2010. The initiative will be carried out at six general hospitals in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang, Wuhan, Fuzhou and Guangzhou – sites that are currently partners in HOPE's cervical cancer program. Seven children's hospitals in both developed and less developed areas will also host the program.

"There are an abundance of excellent educational activities in this initiative that will reach many groups of women – those in schools who should be made aware of HPVs and other women throughout society unaware of the link between HPV and cancer. Their very lives could depend on this crucial health education," said John P. Howe III, M.D., President and CEO of Project HOPE.

Project HOPE began working in China 30 years ago as the first private international health organization to improve the health of communities by partnering with government health authorities, hospitals, universities and corporate partners.

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. http://www.projecthope.org Follow us on Twitter: @projecthopeorg

CONTACT: Geraldine Carroll Tel. 540-257-3746 gcarroll@projecthope.org

Source: Project HOPE