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BD and PEPFAR Collaboration Will Improve Blood-Drawing Practices in Hospitals and Clinics in Sub-Saharan Africa
Date:8/11/2009

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J., Aug. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company), a leading global medical technology company, and the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) today announced a joint initiative to help protect health workers and patients in African countries by improving blood collection safety in clinics and hospitals.

In recent years, safer blood collection has become more critical than ever in sub-Saharan nations and other developing countries severely impacted by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Access to HIV treatment in developing countries has significantly increased in recent years, which in turn has greatly expanded the quantity of blood drawing for HIV screening and monitoring tests.

"Doctors, nurses and other health workers in countries with high infectious disease prevalence face a constant risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and other diseases in their work environment. In particular, blood drawing and other procedures involving blood and sharp devices must be done as safely as possible to protect health workers," said Gary Cohen, Executive Vice President, BD. "Far too few clinicians are currently available to support health needs in sub-Saharan Africa, and all efforts to improve procedures and protect health workers will serve to strengthen fragile health systems in developing countries. BD is very pleased to collaborate with PEPFAR on this essential initiative."

The three-year initiative -- which may be extended up to two additional years -- is scheduled to begin in October in Kenya and expand to include up to four additional PEPFAR-supported countries. It will ultimately support in-service training for as many as 10,000 healthcare workers. When fully implemented, the monitoring component of the initiative aims to track as many as two million blood draws within each participating country.

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SOURCE BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company)
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