“The tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia has touched all of us at Genzyme on a very personal level,” said Henri Termeer, chairman and chief executive officer of Genzyme Corporation. “We wanted to contribute to the rebuilding effort in line with our corporate philosophy of creating constructive solutions to global health problems. These new programs are an extension of our partnership with Project HOPE on another initiative to provide free medicine to patients in under-served areas around the world.”
Over the past few months, Genzyme and Project HOPE have been evaluating needs in the tsunami-affected areas and how they can contribute to rebuilding the necessary medical infrastructure, while providing long-term education and training to address ongoing health needs.
“Genzyme’s donation will be put to work immediately, as Project HOPE is now underway with its long-term plan to implement sustainable health care programs to meet the needs of the tsunami-affected communities,” said John P. Howe III, M.D., president and CEO of Project HOPE.
The first project is a one-year program designed to improve the national level of pediatric critical care nursing skills in Thailand. Doctors from the ministry of Public Health identified the need for this training. In collaboration with the Chiang Mai University Faculty of Nursing, 55 nurses from hospitals serving the tsunami-affected areas will be trained with a standardized curriculum, resulting in certification. To ensure sustainability, the trained nurses will then train peer nurses at their hospitals, which will raise the level of pediatric critical care nursing across Thailand.
In addition, a three-year commitment will be made to re-equip and provide health professional training in order to re-establish quality medical service at Zainoel Abidin University Hospital in Bande Aceh, Indonesia, which lost 50 percent of its staff and most of its equipment, furniture and supplies in the tsunami. Doctors and nurses from Massachusetts General Hospital have volunteered with Project HOPE to restore medical services at the hospital and will also be supporting this initiative by providing training to the new Abidin hospital staff. During the first year, the focus will be on the pulmonary/infectious disease unit and OB/GYN care.
Throughout the multi-year initiatives, Genzyme and Project HOPE will conduct periodic evaluations of each program. Full-time staff on the ground and visiting experts from Project HOPE will provide on-going monitoring and evaluation.
In Genzyme's commitment to ensuring access to its therapies, the company has developed a partnership model where humanitarian efforts are paired with education and advocacy to demonstrate the value of its products to governments and insurers. In developing countries, Genzyme sponsors the Gaucher Initiative through Project HOPE, providing its enzyme replacement therapy Cerezyme ® to Gaucher patients around the world. Through the Gaucher Initiative, more than 200 patients in 17 countries, many of them children with severe Gaucher disease, a rare inherited disorder, have received Genzyme's life-saving therapy.
About Genzyme Corporation
One of the world's leading biotechnology companies, Genzyme is dedicated to making a major positive impact on the lives of people with serious diseases. Founded in 1981, Genzyme has grown from a small start-up to a diversified enterprise with annual revenues exceeding $2 billion and more than 7,000 employees in locations spanning the globe. With many established products and services helping patients in more than 80 countries, Genzyme is a leader in the effort to develop and apply the most advanced technologies in the life sciences. The company's products and services are focused on rare inherited disorders, kidney disease, orthopaedics, cancer, transplant and immune diseases, and diagnostic testing. Genzyme's commitment to innovation continues today with a substantial development program focused on these fields, as well as heart disease and other areas of unmet medical need.
About Project HOPE
Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health problems, with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Identifiable to many by the SS HOPE, the world's first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now conducts land-based medical training and health education programs in 35 countries across five continents. For more information, please visit www.projecthope.org.
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