OAAHC receives CDC funding for Hepatitis B prevention

For Immediate Release: October 12, 2012
For More Information, Contact:
Ron Katsuyama, President, (614) 366-8214
Manju Sankarappa, Executive Director (614) 366-8214

BFree Columbus: The Ohio Asian American Health Coalition (OAAHC) receives a CDC- Prevention Public Health Fund (PPHF) award for early identification and linkage to care among foreign-born persons with Hepatitis B

(COLUMBUS, OH) – The Ohio Asian American Health Coalition (OAAHC) announces a grant award of $173,326 it received from the Center for Disease Control and Preven­tion (CDC) to enable early identifica­tion of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) and linkage to care among foreign-born Asian- and African-populations. One of 33 grant reci­pients, the OAAHC will provide 1,500 HBV screenings and follow-up services to Columbus-area residents who are at high risk for infection by this potentially deadly virus.

Recent immigrants, including those from China, Southeast Asia, and Somalia, have been medically underserved and are among the populations disproportionately affected by this disease.[1] Therefore, the OAAHC’s project, B Free Columbus, was developed to help ensure that members of these communities who are already infected are screened, informed of their condition, and provided with counseling and medical treatment. The OAAHC will also continue its advocacy for the vaccination of individuals at risk for infection, a cost-effective, primary means of preventing new HBV infections.

While a community-based HBV-testing program with linkage to care currently targets  Asians in Columbus, its resources and services are limited. Further, there is no such commu­nity-based testing, treatment, and vaccina­tion program to serve Columbus’ foreign-born African population. Therefore, with this Prevention Public Health Fund award, BFree Columbus will address the high prevalence of undiagnosed chronic HBV among these vulnerable immigrant populations by proactive outreach measures. Its goals are to provide free screenings and linkage to care at unpre­cedented levels in collabora­tion with a number of community-based organizations, health care providers, and the Columbus Department of Health.

For more information, please visit www.oahcoalition.org or call the OAAHC office at  614-366-8214.

[1] Almost two-thirds (63%) of Ohio’s immigrants are from Asia (40%) or Africa (23%). The 2010 U.S. Census indicates that among approximately 53,000 Asians in Franklin County almost three-fourths (72%) are foreign born. Further, among the estimated 45,000 Somalis (Columbus’ largest African ethnic group) almost all are foreign-born, having settled as refugees in increasing numbers since 1994.

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