UCB rolls out key epilepsy pro­gram

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By HE WEI in Shang­hai hewei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A ma­jor global bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany is rolling out a series of “in-school train­ing ac­tiv­i­ties” in China to pro­mote pub­lic aware­ness in epilepsy, a neu­ro­log­i­cal or brain dis­or­der.

UCB, which is based in Brus­sels in Bel­gium, linked up with the China As­so­ci­a­tion Against Epilepsy, or CAAE, to launch its na­tion­wide “Go-to School” cam­paign in Shang­hai last month.

This was all part of the group’s aim to sup­port na­tional ef­forts in help­ing chil­dren and their par­ents un­der­stand the ef­fects of the ill­ness.

“Lack of qual­i­fied health care pro­fes­sion­als and aware­ness of these prob­lems makes peo­ple with chronic condi- tions more vul­ner­a­ble to ex­clu­sion,” said Wu Xin, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of UCB China.

Data from the 2015 Na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion De­vel­op­ment Sta­tis­tics Bul­letin showed that seven out of 1,000 peo­ple in China are ef­fected by epilepsy, with around 2.1 mil­lion of China’s 300 mil­lion stu­dents suf­fer­ing from the dis­or­der.

“Epilepsy causes peo­ple to have re­cur­ring seizures. They hap­pen when clus­ters of nerve cells, or neu­rons, in the brain send out the wrong sig­nals,” said Li Shichuo, hon­orary pres­i­dent and ad­vi­sor of CAAE.

In 2015, China helped pass the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion’s res­o­lu­tion to com­bat epilepsy across the globe through co­or­di­nated ac­tion at coun­try level.

Part of that plan was to make stu­dents aware of the dis­or­der.

“Epilepsy aware­ness and ed­u­ca­tion on school cam­puses is a nec­es­sary com­po­nent to en­hance the level of pub­lic health aware­ness,” said Bern­hard Schwart­lander, the WHO rep­re­sen­ta­tive in China.

“CAAE’s new ini­tia­tive, Car­ing for School Stu­dents with Epilepsy, will sup­port im­ple­men­ta­tion of the res­o­lu­tion on epilepsy and help pro­mote im­proved care for peo­ple with (the dis­or­der),” he added.

UCB has made its pro­gram to high­light epilepsy a cor­ner­stone of its cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­i­ties plan.

The com­pany’s four-year blue­print, en­ti­tled “Rain­bow Bridge in China”, tar­gets pe­di­atric epilepsy care with class- room train­ing, work­shops and on­line neu­rol­ogy cour­ses.

Up to 1,675 health­care work­ers across the coun­try have par­tic­i­pated in the pro­gram, while more than 160,000 chil­dren liv­ing with epilepsy have ben­e­fited from the cour­ses.

At least 1,200 par­ents at­tended work­shops to dis­cuss the chal­lenges and emo­tional strain of look­ing after a fam­ily mem­ber with epilepsy.

UCB has also pro­vided on­line in­for­ma­tion on the dis­or­der to vil­lage doc­tors after team­ing up with pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments, health au­thor­i­ties and aca­demic in­sti­tu­tions.

“UCB has played a sig­nif­i­cant role in spon­sor­ing events, as well as de­vel­op­ing an epilepsy pri­mary care train­ing man­ual,” Li, of CAAE, said.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Pupils at a pri­mary school af­fil­i­ated to the East China Univer­sity of Science and Tech­nol­ogy write notes to fel­low stu­dents with epilepsy.

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