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Bangkok - 16 May 2012: IBM is collaborating with the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre (TRCARC) to strengthen HIV prevention effort and to make Bangkok the world’s first city to achieve "Zero New HIV Infections" by 2015. As part of this initiative, IBM Business Analytics is being applied to enable the Centre to design more effective intervention strategies and outreach actions to help end the spread of HIV/AIDS epidemic.
This collaboration is a significant milestone to HIV prevention effort by several agencies in alliance to end HIV virus transmission in Bangkok. The initiative is in response to “Getting to Zero,” a global campaign initiated by UNAIDS to stop new HIV infections, discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS, and HIV/AIDS related deaths by 2015. The campaign has been endorsed the Thai government in February 2011. Leveraging IBM Business Analytics, TRCARC can tap into all types of related information and share outputs with its alliance agencies such as the Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health, to strengthen this HIV prevention effort.
Professor Emeritus Praphan Phanuphak, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre said, “HIV infection is one of the most serious public health threats Thailand is facing. The country currently has about 500,000 people infected with HIV. It is estimated that there are new 16,000 new HIV infection cases per year. Unfortunately, only 40 per cent of the HIV infected population knows they are living with the HIV or AIDS and gets access to antiretroviral treatment services. This situation results in continuing spread of the life-threatening virus and new infections are rising every year.”
Operating under the Thai Red Cross Society, TRCARC is a leading healthcare entity with a mission to provide HIV infected people with access to comprehensive HIV/AIDS treatment, care and support. Another of its major role is to initiate and execute high-quality HIV prevention programs, cultivating social responsibility and community awareness of HIV/AIDS, as well as conducting preventive and curative research in the field.
Prof. Praphan said, “We are excited to work with IBM and to adopt the company’s advanced technology and expertise. The IBM team helped develop a database and provided directions to manage behavioral records of people with high risk of HIV infection. IBM Business Analytics capabilities also enable our researchers make better decisions on more proactive and preventive measures against transmission of HIV. On top of that, this collaboration helps foster a comprehensive platform for technical knowledge transfer and skill development among our staff.”
Previously, TRCARC launched many HIV prevention campaigns targeting epidemic hot spots to create greater awareness of HIV/AIDS, provide voluntary counseling and testing services free of charge. However, the Centre found that such activities were not effective because information used to design campaign strategies was insufficient and outdated. The reliability of information passed from person to person could not be applied to majority of the targeted population.
“This collaboration clearly represents IBM’s vision to build a Smarter Planet,” said Parnsiree Amatayakul, Managing Director of IBM Thailand Company Limited. “By adopting IBM technology, organizations are able to trasnform the way they work to ensure greater efficiency that leads to continuous progress and a better quality of life for people. We are thrilled to contribute IBM’s business analytics as an integral part in the Bangkok’s initiative to fight against the transmission of HIV while empowering TRCARC’s research capabilities. This is our commitment to building a sustainable society.”
IBM contributed 5 million Baht worth of software licenses and a technical team of highly experienced professionals to:
· Create an online behavioral survey that can be applied among people with high risk of HIV infection. To answer questions, respondents can access to this survey at www.adamslove.org, a website that provides useful physical and mental health information, and at TRCARC’s Anonymous Clinic.
· Design and develop a database that systematically stores data from the online behavioral survey. By using IBM DB2 database software, data retrieval time is significantly reduced from two months to five minutes.
· Develop advanced, fully automated reporting with the use of IBM COGNOS software that enables better analytics and reporting of behavioral records associated with people with high risk of infection.. The software also provides improvements in managing information concerning the prevention of sexual transmission of HIV. This information can be presented in the forms of tables and maps in particular, enabling TRCARC to make better decisions and efficiently identify the best possible strategies to fight against HIV transmission based on real-time analysis.
IBM Business Analytics will help TRCARC make decisions based on real-time information for strategic planning and actualizing more proactive HIV prevention programs, including immediate actions to promote HIV education and behavioral change in the right target. Moreover, it enables TRCARC to use collected information to generate comprehensive progress, or to attract funding to expand prevention efforts and for research projects from major Thai and international funders.
IBM is also instrumental in giving scientists the computer resources necessary to discover drugs that treat HIV, the disease which causes AIDS. For instance, IBM's World Community Grid -- a network that provides researchers the spare computing power of two million PCs owned by 600,000 individuals and organizations -- has enabled the Scripps Research Institute to discover two new compounds that could lead to medicines for those infected with HIV.
For more information about IBM Business Analytics visit www.ibm.com/analytics, and IBM Smarter Healthcare: http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/healthcare_solutions/ideas/index.html.
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