Printer Friendly

PROJECT HOPE, MERCK & CO. COOPERATE ON ROMANIA VACCINE CAMPAIGN

 PROJECT HOPE, MERCK & CO. COOPERATE ON ROMANIA VACCINE CAMPAIGN
 MILLWOOD, Va., March 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Newborn infants will be immunized against hepatitis B during a vaccination campaign to be conducted in Romania this spring by the international health organization Project HOPE.
 In connection with the campaign, Merck & Co., Inc., of Rahway, N.J., has donated hepatitis B vaccine and will participate in educational conferences about hepatitis B which Project HOPE is organizing in Romania this month.
 "The problem in Romania is two-fold: a lack of hepatitis B vaccine and a delivery system which does not reach infants as early as possible," said R. Gordon Douglas Jr., president of the Merck Vaccine Division. "We commend efforts by organizations such as Project HOPE to improve access to vaccines for those who need them."
 Hepatitis B is a severe health problem in Romania, where it has been estimated that up to 95 percent of children in hospitals and orphanages are infected with the disease. Hepatitis B is responsible for a broad array of clinical conditions, from asymptomatic infection to fatal disease.
 Although many children with hepatitis B do not develop symptoms, they can remain carriers for life. Chronic carriers, particularly those infected at a young age, are at increased risk of developing liver cancer and cirrhosis as they grow older.
 While hepatitis B has a low prevalence in the United States, with less than 1 percent of the population chronically infected, as many as 15 percent of Romanians carry hepatitis B, with infected mothers passing it to their infants. The Project HOPE immunization campaign is targeting infants to protect them at the earliest possible age.
 "The long-term impact of doing a universal immunization of infants is that it lowers the carrier rate," said Franklin Apfel, M.D., Project HOPE program director for Central Europe. "This effectively protects the blood-bank supply, the food chain and virtually every other venue the disease might take. You safeguard people for life."
 In advance of the campaign, Project HOPE medical professionals will assess hospitals and health clinics in Bucharest and outlying areas to ensure secure transportation and storage of the vaccine, which must be kept cold. The conference, which HOPE is organizing in the cities of Brasov and Constanta, will further support the effort by providing education for health professionals.
 International experts in the fields of epidemiology, infectious disease and maternal/child health are expected to speak at the conferences, scheduled for March 16-20. Also expected to speak are representatives of the Romanian Ministry of Health, World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Cantacuzino Institute in Bucharest, Romania's major producer of vaccines.
 Health representatives from all 41 districts of Romania are expected to attend the conferences, which will educate professionals on the delivery and use of hepatitis B vaccine. Health professionals will also learn the correct way to dispose of syringes and needles used to inoculate.
 As part of the campaign, Project HOPE will provide hospitals and clinics with destruction clips and disposal boxes used to destroy needles and syringes after use.
 "Project HOPE's basic mission is health education, so it is very appropriate that Project HOPE addresses the major educational issues that go along with this campaign," Apfel said. "We're emphasizing training in basic issues such as sterilization, infection control and the use of syringes and needles.
 "These basic functions extend beyond hepatitis B to influence all medications administered by injection," Apfel said. "By the time he's 1 year old, the average Romanian child has had approximately 20 injections. Without proper safeguards, each one of these could transmit disease. So Project HOPE is taking the right approach by including a strong educational component with this humanitarian assistance campaign."
 Funding for the campaign is being provided through the U.S. Agency for International Development, which is supporting Project HOPE humanitarian assistance programs throughout Central and Eastern Europe. In addition to inoculating against hepatitis B, HOPE has also conducted an influenza vaccine campaign in the region, and has provided more than $2.3 million in pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to the Baltic nations since the United States established independent diplomatic relations with them last September.
 Project HOPE, the primary activity of The People-to-People Health Foundation Inc., currently operates programs in 28 countries, including the United States. The foundation was established in 1958 and has offices in Washington, San Francisco and headquarters in Millwood.
 Merck & Co. Inc. is a worldwide research-intensive health products company that discovers, develops, produces and markets human and animal health products and specialty chemicals.
 -0- 3/16/92
 /CONTACT: Debra ElAnani in Czechoslovakia, 42-7-377-051, or Maggie Wolff Peterson, 703-837-2100, both of Project HOPE/ CO: Project HOPE; Merck & Co., Inc. ST: Virginia IN: SU:


DC -- DC017 -- 8496 03/16/92 17:06 EST
COPYRIGHT 1992 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 16, 1992
Words:789
Previous Article:PARADISE FRUIT ANNOUNCES 1991 EARNINGS AND DIVIDEND
Next Article:COORS LIGHT RACES FOR THE AMERICA'S CUP IN 1992
Topics:


Related Articles
THE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA AND THE WISTAR INSTITUTE JOIN FORCES WITH MERCK AND CO., INC. TO FIGHT DEADLY VIRUS OF INFANTS
CSI LTD., UNIQUEST AND MERCK ANNOUNCE COLLABORATION TO DEVELOP HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS VACCINE
BEHIND THE IDITAROD: FACES OF THE CONTINUING 'RACE FOR LIFE'
Merck's New VaccinesbyNet.com Web Site Gives Healthcare Professionals Instant Access to the World of Vaccines.
Merck Announces $100-Million Donation of Vaccine; Company's Commitment to Vaccine Research Reaffirmed at White House Meeting.
Vical Notes Merck Hope of Ultimate Success for HIV Vaccine.
Crucell's PER.C6 Cell-Line Used in Merck's HIV-1 Vaccines Research Program.
New Research Includes Use of Vical's 'Naked DNA' Technology for HIV Vaccine.
CytRx's Receives $1 Million Milestone Payment From Merck for TranzFect License.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters