The HOPE Initiative is establishing a Center of Excellence in India that will expand a successful school-to-community approach to control hepatitis B virus (HBV) and type 2 diabetes throughout the country.
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) is endemic in India and other parts of East Asia, where many people become infected during childhood. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that as many as one in four adults who become chronically infected with HBV in childhood will later die from liver cancer or cirrhosis.
Children, who account for about 40% of the population in India and other developing countries, represent a large pool of potential ambassadors to advocate for HBV awareness and prevention with their families and neighbors.
Type 2 diabetes also is a significant health concern in India. Genetic predisposition is a factor, but unhealthy eating and a sedentary lifestyle that begin at a young age underlie the growing problem and present opportunities for preventive measures.
The HOPE Initiative will receive $691,373 over three years to establish a Center of Excellence in India. The Center of Excellence will promote HBV and type 2 diabetes awareness along with other public health issues using a school-to-community approach developed in the densely populated state of Uttar Pradesh.
The school-to-community approach has been used to raise awareness about and control HBV among 5 million students at 4,500 schools and their families. The success of the program led government to expand the state’s vaccination program to include HBV as well as send a policy directive for schools to have a health education of hepatitis included in the school curriculum.
The Center of Excellence will also be a hub that acts as a think tank and knowledge center for HBV and type 2 diabetes and develop a model of intervention that can be replicated. Through the current grant, similar programs focused on HBV and diabetes will be created and implemented in numerous states in India for longer periods of time. Work groups will be established to guide activities in research, program development, operations and national advocacy.