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Gates Foundation hands China $33m to fight tuberculosis in 20 cities

[ 2009-04-02 13:50]     字号 [] [] []  
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The detection, diagnosis and treatment of TB is to be boosted in 20 Chinese cities, helping around 50,000 sufferers each year, thanks to a new partnership between central government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Ministry of Health formalized a deal yesterday that will see the foundation donate $33 million over the next five years to help wipe out the disease in Beijing.

"This tuberculosis control program aims to establish an effective prevention model through the exploration of new diagnostic tools and methods," said Health Minister Chen Zhu.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met with Gates yesterday, applauding his help for China in HIV/AIDS and TB prevention and treatment.

The new techniques to be piloted include drug combinations to reduce the number of pills used each day by 70 percent, and strategies to help patients take medicine regularly with text messages and kits with built-in alarms.

"This partnership with China comes at a critical time in the world's response to tuberculosis," said Bill Gates, the billionaire founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the foundation. "TB is an increasing threat because of gaps in the way the disease is diagnosed and treated. This partnership will help cut off drug resistance at its source by applying innovative approaches to strengthen basic TB control."

The deal comes at a crucial time in the nation's grave battle against TB, with China one of the worst hit by the current multiple drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) epidemic, according to the World Health Organization.

The country accounts for 14 percent of the world's overall TB cases and up to 22 percent of its drug-resistant cases, with about 130,000 deaths from the disease each year. Of the 120,000 reported cases of MDR-TB each year, eight out of 10 patients are from rural areas and the majority are young people, say the Ministry of Health.

But Gates hailed China's efforts to combat the disease by "taking the threat of TB very seriously", while ministry figures showed it detected and treated 6.42 million TB patients between 2001 and 2008.

By the end of last year, the government had invested a total of 2.16 billion yuan ($310 million) in TB prevention and control, said the ministry.


1. How much did the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation hand over yesterday to the Ministry of Health to assist in the fight against TB?

2. Which head of the Chinese Government did Bill Gates meet yesterday in Beijing?


1. $33 million.

2. Premier Wen Jiabao.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Gates Foundation hands China $33m to fight tuberculosis in 20 cities

Gates Foundation hands China $33m to fight tuberculosis in 20 citiesBrendan joined The China Daily in 2007 as a language polisher in the Language Tips Department, where he writes a regular column for Chinese English Language learners, reads audio news for listeners and anchors the weekly video news in addition to assisting with on location stories. Elsewhere he writes Op’Ed pieces with a China focus that feature in the Daily’s Website opinion section.

He received his B.A. and Post Grad Dip from Curtin University in 1997 and his Masters in Community Development and Management from Charles Darwin University in 2003. He has taught in Japan, England, Australia and most recently China. His articles have featured in the Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times, The Asia News Network and in-flight magazines.