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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

GE Healthcare And Its Partners Launch Major Stroke Campaign With The Support From China's Ministry Of Health

GE Healthcare and China’s Ministry of Health announced today the official kick off of the “Stroke Prevention and Control Project” organized by the Chinese Association of Geriatrics Research, the Chinese Health Development Foundation and GE Healthcare. The project aims to build a national stroke prevention and control network in China in an effort to reduce stroke incidence and mortality rates, improve people's health and quality of life as well as to reduce the stroke-related cost burden for the country.

Learning from successful experiences of the United States and other countries as well as from years of practical results generated in collaboration between China and the United States, this project will be supported by the latest and most advanced GE Healthcare technologies in stroke diagnosis and treatment. The project will also include epidemiology research regarding the causes of stroke, physician training and public education campaigns about primary and secondary prevention of stroke.

Stroke is an acute cerebrovascular disease that is known for its high incidence, morbidity and mortality rates. According to the third Chinese survey on causes of death, cerebrovascular disease has become the top killer in China, with mortality rates four to five times higher than Europe and the United States, 3.5 times higher than Japan, and even higher than Thailand, India and other developing countries. According to over 20 years of statistics on stroke from Beijing Anzhen Hospital, 27% of these registered events were fatal and the majority of stroke survivors suffered permanent disabilities such as hemiplegia and aphasia, severely affecting their quality of life. At present, the annual cost of treatment for cerebrovascular disease is over RMB12Bn, which, when added to a variety of indirect economic lost due to this disease, brings total annual expenditures to nearly RMB20 billion.

Chen Zhu, China´s Minister of Health, said: “Stroke causes serious harm to victims and poses a heavy burden to the patient’s families. There is a need for early detection of high-risk groups and appropriate intervention. We are proud to lead the “Stroke Prevention and Control Project” in China providing greater efficiency and a fast and great return on investment for our healthcare system”. Chen also called on the country's healthcare professionals and journalists to adhere to a preventive philosophy, educating and disseminating information that can help reduce the incidence and mortality of cerebrovascular disease in China. “This project has been considered to be listed as a significant initiative into ‘Healthy China 2020 Strategy’ ", he added.

"Stroke early diagnosis and intervention has been a neglected national health project. We should take action on stroke early detection and intervention guidelines and technical standards and physician training. All provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities should establish at least one stroke detection and intervention center for screening among high-risk populations within three years, so as to reduce the incidence of cerebrovascular disease and mortality in China," says Wang Longde, Member of National People's Congress Standing Committee, former Vice Minister of China’s Ministry of Health and President of Chinese Association of Geriatrics Research.

China Health Development Foundation Chairman, Wang Yanfeng, said, “This is a project designed to protect people's health. The Foundation, together with other partners, will co-drive and support this project”. He also suggested to establish a specialized foundation for stroke prevention and control and called on the whole society to provide support for this foundation.

"The stroke project is an important part of GE’s healthymagination initiative in China and we look forward, under the leadership of the Ministry of Health, to helping drive early diagnosis and treatment of stroke in China, and then fulfilling our commitment of reducing health care costs, increasing access and improving quality," said George Cao, General Manager of Greater China Marketing and Enterprise Business, GE Healthcare.

"For stroke patients, the key is to ensure patients get accurate diagnoses and treatment as soon as possible. However, there is currently some gap between what county hospitals can provide and the requirement by clinical guidelines for stroke diagnosis and treatment. Our vision is that in the future, those 2,000 Chinese counties and county-level cities are able to provide early diagnosis for high-risks as well as comprehensive treatment service to patients in rural area. In this regard, affordable medical technology, and continued education and training program would be critical. GE will work with partners to continue the efforts in solving these challenges." To date, GE has provided medical equipment and project start-up funding worth RMB2 million for this project.

Wang Longde added, "This work needs to be run by the Government and must include broad community participation. We are glad to see that the Ministry of Health continues to show strong support for this project, and considers the stroke prevention and control project as a major part of the ‘Healthy China 2020 Strategy’. I hope that the healthcare professionals, the media and the society work together to improve people’s health and reduce the suffering and heavy burden this disease brings upon patients and their families”.
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