Swiss pharma group Novartis AG organizes health lectures in Xinjiang
Swiss-based international pharma group Novartis AG said that thousands of lectures on health were organized by its health express program until the end of 2016, with the lecture circuit covering almost 90 percent of the remote areas in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and benefiting more than 2 million participants.
“The achievements of the project inspire our adherence to corporate responsibilityand responsible operations, helping more people improve their health and quality of life,” said Larry Zhang, vice-president of Novartis Group (China).
Novartis estimates costs for the public welfare program to date have totaled about 50 million yuan ($4.23 million). Novartis, one of the largest drugmakers in the world, aims to raise local people’s health awareness and improve local health conditions inXinjiang.
Novartis launched the health express program in 2010 to help improve poor sanitary conditions and low medical standards in the region, especially in the remote rural areas. The program was launched in the wake of the Chinese government’s new policy of aiding healthcare inXinjiang.
The kick-off ceremony of the third Novartis China health express program on chronic disease prevention and control, was held in April inKuerle, a city inXinjiang.
Zhangsaid theChina health express program has organized many health promotion activities in different cities and rural areas in the autonomous region. This covered holding health education lectures for students and residents, organizing training for doctors and staff, establishing cold chain transportation system for medical specimens, donating medical equipment and compiling health books.
Novartis, based in Basel in Switzerland, wontheXinjiang Science & Technology Promotion Award in February because of its health express program. It is the first and only foreign company which has won such an accolade.
“The program was tailormade for Xinjiang, concerning itself with the population’s health in a frontier minority region and with the development of medical and health services,” said Wang Chunhong, deputymayor ofKuerle, at the ceremony.
Over the last two years Kuerle’s chronic disease prevention and control project has worked on improving medical resources in the rural areas, improving standards for medical staff and publicizing health knowledge — especially the knowledge of prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.
The project has made a great contribution to health construction and chronic disease management in Xinjiang said Muhammad Yasin, former director general of the Xinjiang health department.
Around 36 lectures to medical staff and 671 lectures to students, teachers and residents have been held since the Novartis health express project was launched in Kuerle, benefiting more than 60,000 attendees.
Thanks to the Novartis project, Kuerle is now at the forefront of the autonomous region’s push on chronic disease prevention and control, said an official from the local Health, Population and Family Planning Commission.
In addition to Kuerle, the health express program has also been carried on in many other cities and counties, Zhang said.
Between 2011 and 2013 more than 800 medical and nursing staff inprimary hospitals in Xinjiang were trained, so as to enhance the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases like hepatitis B.
Since the program launched in Aksu in May 2010, health education campaigns were carried out in schools and universities all over the autonomous region, utilizing such innovative methods as painting competitions and entertainment performances.
The education of students has had a positive ripple effect as students pass on the knowledge they acquire to their families and thus influence health behavior in local communities, said Zhang.
Children smile in front of the camera after a mental health class sponsored by Novartis health express program in Hetian county, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.