Global Health

Today, BD is scaling up our response to disease pandemics in the developing world by focusing efforts in four key areas: increasing access to critically needed technologies, building healthcare capacity, investing in new technologies, and supporting volunteerism and philanthropy.

Collaborating across the private and public sectors, BD programs focus on creating sustainable approaches to HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria.

Good Laboratory Practices

Increasing Access Improving Services New Technologies Philanthropy

Immune system monitoring is an essential component of treating people living with HIV/AIDS. Accurate measurement of a patient's CD4 count enables clinicians to determine when to initiate antiretroviral treatment (ART).

ART reduces susceptibility to opportunistic and potentially lethal infections, enabling HIV/AIDS patients to sustain a productive life. CD4 testing is also useful in evaluating the effectiveness of and adherence to ART.  BD's flow cytometers, which measure CD4 counts, have been used for decades in laboratories worldwide for immune-system monitoring of HIV patients and for HIV vaccine research.

BD entered into an agreement with the William J. Clinton Foundation in 2004 to expand accessibility of advanced CD4 cell counting technology for immune system monitoring of people living with HIV/AIDS throughout the developing world.

Tuberculosis (TB) is difficult to treat and challenging to diagnose, especially when working with HIV/AIDS patients. The testing method used almost universally in the developing world, the sputum acid-fast smear, is over 115 years old and is largely ineffective in HIV/AIDS patients because the majority have too few TB bacteria in their sputum to readily observe under a microscope. As a result, false negative tests are very common. Inaccurate diagnosis not only contributes to the continued rapid spread of TB, but also to growth of drug resistance. While multiple drug-resistant forms of TB have been a problem for some time, a more recent and alarming trend is emergence of extensively drug resistant TB, or XDR-TB. Patients with XDR-TB do not respond to first- or second-line drug treatments for TB.

BD entered into an agreement with the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) to improve diagnosis of TB in developing countries. This agreement established demonstration sites in Africa, Eastern Europe including Russia, and Asia to introduce advanced culture technology for rapid and accurate diagnosis of TB, including drug-resistance testing.

Limited access to clinical and laboratory health services is one of the largest constraints to battling disease in developing countries. The majority of the disease burden exists in non-urban locations (districts and rural villages), and access to health services in these locations is often poor to nonexistent.

BD is committed to helping improve the fundamental capacity to deliver healthcare, including access to trained healthcare workers and to clinical and laboratory products and services.

Through collaboration with over 20 health agencies, universities, NGOs, and international agencies, BD has conducted over 500  Good Laboratory Practices workshops in more than 59 developing countries, providing hands-on training to more than 4,500 laboratory workers.  This training is focused on implementation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for immune-system monitoring of HIV/AIDS patients (CD4 testing).  It also teaches fundamental laboratory practices such as quality control and blood sampling, and is presently being expanded to cover TB-testing procedures.  Associated with this  Good Laboratory Practices workshop initiative, BD has established eight training centers in locations around the world including Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and South America.  For example, BD has collaborated with Stellenbosch University in South Africa and the Kenyan Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) in Kenya to open training centers in these countries. These centers have fully outfitted laboratories with equipment donated by BD, and when not in use for training purposes, the laboratories are available for actual patient monitoring and HIV/AIDS research.

In 2000, BD, together with the Program for Appropriate Technology in Healthcare (PATH) developed a training manual entitled "Giving Safe Injections: Using Auto-Disable Syringes for Immunization."  This manual was created for healthcare workers who inject vaccines, and includes information on how to administer a vaccination without harming the recipient or the healthcare worker. BD healthcare professionals continue to engage with local Ministries of Health, national organizations, and international agencies to train thousands of healthcare workers each year.  Since 2000, BD has conducted over 250 Immunization Injection Safety Trainings in 49 countries throughout Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Latin America.

BD is an HIV/AIDS collaborating partner of the Millennium Villages Project. This commitment includes funding for the project's global HIV/AIDS coordinator and in-country health coordinators, as well as collaboration on diagnostic and clinical infrastructure and core competency needs.

BD and the International Council of Nurses (ICN) recently announced a multi-year initiative to provide health and wellness services to healthcare providers working on the front lines in four African nations.  This collaboration will help address the risk to health workers in sub-Saharan Africa associated with the very high levels of disease prevalence in their healthcare environment. 

BD collaborates with the Academic Alliance Foundation and the Infectious Disease Institute at Makerere University in Uganda to develop training programs on clinical, public health, and laboratory practices for clinicians and researchers from throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

BD recognizes that existing developed world technologies do not always meet the unique healthcare demands of the developing world. As such, BD is committed to investing in new technologies that can address the specific healthcare challenges faced in the developing world.

BD has a wide variety of CD4 solutions for resource-limited settings. In 1994, the BD FACSCount™ flow cytometer was launched. The first fully automated CD4 counter expanded the test's use to patients who have high white blood cell counts, such as infants and young children.  BD recently launched the BD FACSCount CD4 reagent, which provides CD4 percentages as well as absolute counts.

To help prevent inappropriate reuse of disposable syringes and needles, BD developed several auto-disable products in close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and several other international agencies. These devices include products such as the BD SoloShot™ range of injection devices and the BD Uniject™ pre-filled injection device. To date, BD has shipped over four billion auto-disable syringes to 90 countries in Asia, Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.

The recently developed BD SoloMed™ syringe is intended for the acute-care environment in developing countries. An extra push after use breaks the plunger, preventing reuse.

BD recently launched the BD Vacutainer® CD4 stabilization blood collection tube in Africa. The tube stabilizes CD4 cells for longer time periods and at higher temperatures, enabling more samples to be taken in remote areas and transported to central labs for testing. 

In addition to deployment of the company's core competencies, BD is committed to improving global health through philanthropic and volunteer initiatives.

Through the BD Volunteer Program, BD regularly sends teams of its associates to remote health facilities to help build local health capacity through training, construction, health services, and laboratory strengthening.

  • In 2005, BD collaborated with the Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) to send teams of BD associates to five health centers in Zambia. Recognizing the need for follow up, BD associates returned to Zambia in 2006 to continue their work at the same health centers.
  • In 2007, BD collaborated with Direct Relief International to send BD associates to two health centers in Ghana.

BD provided philanthropic support to Save the Children for the establishment of clinics for HIV-positive children in Eastern Europe and Ethiopia.

BD provided substantial monetary donations and an advanced, automated cell analysis system to the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) to assist in the development of an HIV vaccine.  

BD is an active member of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS and is a leading voice in advocacy for supporting the fight against this disease in developing countries.

BD supports the Measles Initiative, a long-term commitment by the American Red Cross and its partners to eliminate measles deaths in Africa. BD's commitment to this initiative includes cash contributions, product donations, safe-injection training, and additional support.

BD was the first and largest corporate partner with the United States Fund for UNICEF in its effort to support UNICEF's goal of eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) worldwide. BD committed substantial monetary and in-kind donations (including 135 million safe-injection devices) to prevent the spread of HIV and other diseases in the MNT immunization initiative.

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