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The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation (BMSF) has awarded a Rs 2.96-crore ($539,035) grant to the Liver Foundation,West Bengal and aims to turn into a Centre of Excellence.

Source : Times of India
Nov 09, 2012

KOLKATA: The Bristol-Myers SquibbFoundation (BMSF) has awarded a Rs 2.96-crore ($539,035) grant to the Liver Foundation,West Bengal and aims to turn into a Centre of Excellence. The grants come as a shot in the arm not only for the Kolkata-based NGO but also for the state government which funds it. which was formed by several health professionals in 2006. 

The Liver Foundation has been partnering BMSF for the last five years and making efforts to develop comprehensive interventions for hepatitis B, C and comorbid non-communicable diseases, like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and fatty liver disease. 

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation (BMSF) who has awarded a $539,035 or Rs 2.96 crore in grants to the Liver Foundation, West Bengal will aim to turn it into a Center for Excellence. The grants come as a shot in the arm for the Kolkata-based NGO which was formed by several health professionals in 2006. The Liver Foundation has been partnering BMSF for the last five years now trying to develop comprehensive interventions for hepatitis B, C and comorbid non-communicable diseases, like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and fatty liver disease. The government - which has been funding the NGO - also gains for all these are targeted at Bengal's socio-economically backward population. 

On Sunday, BMSF President 
John Damonti on Sunday along with MoS (health) Chandrima Bhattacharya inaugurated a three-day conference in Kolkata aimed not only to give a leg-up up to their partners but to work on plausible timeframes and achievables. Damonti later said China and India together have an estimated 123 million people affected by hepatitis B and another 59 million by hepatitis C - this is 50% of all hepatitis B and C infections worldwide. BSMF which is funding four projects in China and India, but the biggest grants in the $ 1.69 million largesse were for the Bengal project. 

Damonti also clearly indicated they hoped the Bengal initiative will turn into a Centre of Excellence and can to be replicated elsewhere. 

Bhattacharya said, "We are organising health camps, giving special focus on vaccines, like Hepatitis B and C, and are regularly taking stock of things. I do not want to make any political statement here, but it is a fact that we are still laggard in healthcare services. We are trying to pull it up. And in this, if you extend a helping hand to us, we will remain grateful. For, the state of finances leaves us constrained in what should be done and what is being done. I am very enthused that you have chosen to partner the 
Liver Foundation of Bengal and help us in our efforts to eradicate this malaise." The minister also promised BSMF all support in their endeavors. "The chief minister of our state is also the health minister and she would like to extend her fullest support to any such initiative," she said. 

The Liver Foundation of Bengal president Asokananda Konar said among the various awareness and intervention programmes being undertaken in four districts (Birbhum, Nadia, Purulia and Darjeeling), efforts have been made to rope in rural medical practitioners or quacks in remote villages under the ambit. "It remains a fact that 

Vast stretches of rural Bengal don't fall under the ambit of the healthcare delivery system. It would be wise if can mobilise this potent resource going forward and train them," he said.


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