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BD and PEPFAR Launch Labs for Life to Strengthen Laboratories in Regions Heavily Burdened by Disease

WASHINGTON and FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J., July 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) (NYSE: BDX), a leading global medical technology company, and the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), today announced Labs for Life, a new collaboration to help strengthen healthcare and laboratory systems in the developing world.

The new collaboration, valued at $20 million, builds on a prior five-year public-private partnership (PPP) between BD and PEPFAR that focused on improving overall laboratory systems and services in sub-Saharan African countries severely affected by HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB).

Labs for Life will include Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Mozambique and also expand outside of Africa to India. Senior officials from PEPFAR, CDC and BD announced the new collaboration at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C.

"The U.S. is strengthening health systems in developing countries for the long term by supporting national leadership in creating programs that are country-owned and respond to local needs," said Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator. "Our work with BD focuses on strengthening laboratories, which are a key element of health systems needed to help improve patient outcomes and save lives."

"Our work with PEPFAR over the last five years has demonstrated how the private sector can effectively apply its technologies and expertise to have a positive impact on healthcare in the regions most heavily burdened by disease," said Vincent A. Forlenza, Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and President, BD. "We are honored that PEPFAR agreed to launch Labs for Life with us, and we look forward to our continued work together."

"The collaboration between PEPFAR and BD exemplifies the unique impact that public-private partnerships can have on addressing health challenges in the developing world," said Thomas Frieden, Director, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We are confident that Labs for Life will be yet another example of how cross-sector collaborations can catalyze much-needed healthcare improvements in countries that are deeply affected by disease."

A five-year agreement, Labs for Life builds on the success of the initial laboratory strengthening program and will focus on:

  • Quality improvement for laboratory services to attain national, regional, or international accreditation
  • Laboratory Human Resources training on pathology, forecasting and optimization
  • Curriculum development and training on equipment maintenance
  • Collaboration with the African Centre for Integrated Laboratory Training (ACILT) and the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) to strengthen local capacity and promote country ownership and sustainability
  • Use of HIV systems to address non-communicable diseases – such as diabetes – and creation of capabilities in health systems to adopt point-of-care technologies
  • In addition to announcing the new collaboration, BD and PEPFAR also unveiled the results of a third-party assessment of their initial laboratory strengthening collaboration. Aligning with PEPFAR's priority of strengthening health systems, initial collaboration addressed national needs to improve quality and accuracy of laboratory test results to support clinical decision-making for initiating and monitoring patients in Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambique and South Africa. Working with Ministries of Health, BD collaborated with CDC field staff to develop a sustainable model integrating technology transfer, local workforce and health infrastructure development.

    Assessing the performance of this PPP, Cardno, an external auditing company, reported that countries where capacity-building took place, have not only improved the quality of services available to local populations, but also have become regional centers of excellence in Africa.

    Program outcomes highlighted in Cardno's report for HIV/AIDS and TB patients, nearly 200,000 in Uganda and 250,000 in Ethiopia, who are on treatment and care revealed that the PPP:

  • Improved access to specialized testing services for suspect multi-drug resistant drug TB (MDR-TB) especially for patients co-infected with HIV/TB in remote parts of Uganda, leading to the important finding that 14% of Uganda's retreatment TB cases have MDR-TB, a rate much higher than a previously reported 4.4%. Now Uganda is in a better position to adequately estimate its MDR TB burden.
  • Built competencies and skills of laboratory workers who are testing for CD4+ specimens, an immunological assessment marker to diagnose and monitor HIV patients, contributing to sustainable quality systems of 88% of CD4 testing laboratories in Uganda.
  • Applied Geographical Information System (GIS) to strengthen existing specimen referral and result reporting mechanisms into an integrated national system for all specimens for anti-retroviral treatment (ART) patients. This improved access to advanced and accurate diagnostics for HIV and its opportunistic infections in Ethiopia. GIS data has served as a basis for evidence-based health programming for HIV and has applicability for detection of other high burden diseases such as malaria and measles. In Ethiopia, policy makers and key leaders are making informed revisions of policy and budget allocations.
  • As noted by Cardno's evaluation, PEPFAR and BD's specimen referral and result reporting model has the potential to be replicated in other resource-limited countries to meet national needs for strengthening laboratory systems.

    About PEPFARThe U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is the U.S. Government initiative to support partner nations around the world in responding to HIV/AIDS. It was launched in 2003, and is the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease internationally in history. Through PEPFAR, the U.S. Government has committed approximately $46 billion to bilateral HIV/AIDS programs, the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and bilateral TB programs through Fiscal Year 2012. PEPFAR is the cornerstone and largest component of the President's Global Health Initiative. This Initiative supports partner countries in improving health outcomes through strengthened health systems, with a particular focus on improving the health of women, newborns and children through programs that address a range of health issues. For more information, please visit

    About CDCThe U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is America's premier health promotion, prevention, and preparedness agency and a global leader in public health. CDC is at the forefront of public health efforts to prevent and control infectious and chronic diseases, injuries, workplace hazards, disabilities, and environmental health threats. The agency is globally recognized for conducting research and investigations and for its action-oriented approach to public health. CDC's Division of Global HIV/AIDS (DGHA) provides critical leadership in the fight against HIV/AIDS in resource-constrained countries by assisting partner governments to strengthen laboratory, epidemiology, surveillance, public health evaluation and workforce capacity-essential components for strong sustainable public health systems. For more information, please visit

    About BDBD is a leading global medical technology company that develops, manufactures and sells medical devices, instrument systems and reagents. The Company is dedicated to improving people's health throughout the world. BD is focused on improving drug delivery, enhancing the quality and speed of diagnosing infectious diseases and cancers, and advancing research, discovery and production of new drugs and vaccines. BD's capabilities are instrumental in combating many of the world's most pressing diseases. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, BD employs approximately 29,000 associates in more than 50 countries throughout the world. The Company serves healthcare institutions, life science researchers, clinical laboratories, the pharmaceutical industry and the general public. For more information, please visit CDCBDEstela Astacio

    Arleen Porcell

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    SOURCE BD-Becton Dickinson
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