15 Sep 2009 12:13

Qinghai starts MDR-TB control program

Shanghai. September 15. INTERFAX-CHINA - Qinghai Province started a two-year multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) control and treatment program this month, state media reported on Sept. 14.

The Qinghai Provincial Health Bureau, Eli Lilly and Co. and the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria plan to invest RMB 1.12 million ($163,982) to fund MDR-TB prevention and treatment in 20 key counties in Qinghai, according to Xinhua news agency. In addition, 520 doctors and medical staff working at medical institutions will receive professional training through the program.

The program will collaborate with other existing tuberculosis projects in the province to supply drugs to people in impoverished regions. "Eli Lilly has totally invested $135 million in TB-related public health projects around the world, and China is one of the globally strategic countries," a public relations officer from Eli Lilly, surnamed Zou, told Interfax.

According to Ministry of Health, 130,000 people each year die from tuberculosis in China, second only to India worldwide. About 40 percent of tuberculosis patients in China are drug resistant and 10 percent are multi-drug resistant.