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