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Project HOPE Announces Health Alliance in Partnership with AstraZeneca and Ten Industry Leaders to Reverse Growing Trend of Chronic Respiratory Diseases in China

MILLWOOD, Va., May 21, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Project HOPE, a global health education and humanitarian organization, is teaming up with leading companies and organizations from the pharmaceutical and health care industries, to establish the China Alliance of Respiratory Diseases Prevention and Treatment (CARD) program aiming to improve the lives of the more than 100 million people who suffer from respiratory diseases in China.

In China, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are the most common chronic respiratory diseases. Approximately 30 million Chinese patients suffer from asthma, which is also the most common chronic disease among children. The prevalence of pediatric asthma is four percent and the treatment rate is 86 percent, compared to the 1.78 percent prevalence rate of adult asthma and 39 percent treatment rate.

According to a 2012 World Health Organization report, COPD is the third leading cause of death worldwide and the most widespread chronic disease in China. There are approximately 100 million Chinese with COPD, which account for 11.9 percent of deaths in China. Health officials fear that millions of people will die from COPD every year without more effective treatment and prevention methods.

"China's 2012 national statistics show that chronic respiratory diseases accounted for 12.32 percent of urban mortalities and 15.75 percent of deaths in rural areas. Many chronic respiratory disease patients are also underdiagnosed in China," said Zhong Nanshan, Academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering and Director of State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease. "By 2020, COPD is expected to be one of the top five most serious diseases worldwide and will pose a major threat to China. It is crucial therefore to increase prevention efforts and treatment availability of chronic respiratory diseases to safeguard public health."

"Low awareness is one of the major contributing factors to the prevalence of chronic respiratory diseases in China. The establishment of CARD will provide multiple stakeholders with a platform to enhance awareness of COPD and asthma. CARD will focus on improving respiratory disease prevention and treatment through a series of professional and public education initiatives. Working hand-in-hand with experts and industry insiders, we are confident that we will be able to improve disease control and prevention." said Wang Chen, Academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering and Director of the Committee of the Chinese Thoracic Society, Chinese Medical Association.

"It is crucial to increase public awareness of respiratory diseases and reduce the burden from these diseases, especially among high-risk populations, such as smokers and people exposed to dust, biofuels, and solid fuels at work or in their general environment," said Linda Heitzman, Executive Vice President at Project HOPE. "To that end, Project HOPE is pleased to announce the creation of CARD to address these health issues and formulate solutions with evidence-based recommendations to manage and prevent the diseases in the future."

CARD focuses on improving:

  1. Drawing the attention of decision makers to COPD and asthma to influence them to include the two diseases on the chronic disease management list
  2. Forming three task forces for COPD, Asthma and Pediatric Asthma to conduct training for health care professionals, donate lung function testing equipment to hospitals, and strengthen the capacity for chronic respiratory disease prevention and treatment.
  3. Collaborating with select community health centers in China to explore the feasibility, cost-effectiveness, and benefits of introducing lung function screening into primary care for at-risk populations.
  4. Establishing online training for primary health care providers in smaller cities and donating 10,000 simple lung function screening devices, 10,000 nebulizers, 1,100 FeNO devices and 1,100 portable lung function test machines for hospitals with unmet needs in these cities

With a shared vision and commitment to Chinese patients, AstraZeneca China has partnered with Project HOPE, lending the company's legacy of scientific knowledge and research capabilities to CARD. Together, AstraZeneca and Project HOPE will work to raise awareness of chronic respiratory diseases among health professionals, ultimately improving the lives of patients in China.

"The alliance will strategically and effectively tackle the deadly respiratory diseases that are on the rise in China and other developing nations. We hope through the combined talent of disease experts, public health officials and Project HOPE, along with Project HOPE's experience in health education and disease prevention, we will be able to ease the burden of respiratory disease for patients in China," said Leon Wang, President, AstraZeneca China & Hong Kong.

In addition to receiving strong support from AstraZeneca, CARD will also collaborate with other companies and organizations in the health care industry, medical professionals and specialists in respiratory medicine, governmental agencies for disease prevention and control, and public health experts.

CAHA (CEIBS Alumni Healthcare Association), Dxy.cn, McCann, Yaolan.com, Haodf.com, Omron, Sunvon, Tigermed, and Edoctor.cn are also engaged in the project as sponsors, providing technical, content, and implementation support.

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, and conducts humanitarian assistance programs in more than 30 countries. Visit our websites, projecthope.org and www.projecthope.org.cn and follow us on Twitter @projecthopeorg

CONTACT: U.S.: Geraldine Carroll gcarroll@projecthope.org Tel:+1-540-257-3746 China: Lily Hsu lilyhsu@projecthope.org.cn Tel: +86-2138626113

Source: Project HOPE