Beijing, March 30, 2017 – Nestlé Health Science (NHSc) and the Chinese Stroke Association (CSA) have entered into a collaboration agreement designed to improve the screening, diagnosis and management of dysphagia (swallowing difficulties) amongst stroke patients. Stroke is one of the most common causes of dysphagia; it is estimated that between 3.4 and 7.4 million patients are suffering from dysphagia in China, leaving them vulnerable to dehydration, malnutrition and aspiration pneumonia.
As part of the collaboration, Nestlé Health Science will launch Thicken Up in leading hospitals in 25 provinces and municipalities in China. Thicken Up is an innovative thickening agent that enables tailored texture modification of food and liquids to help patients overcome swallowing difficulty. NHSc will also collaborate and share resources with the Chinese Stroke Association (CSA) on the introduction of clinical innovation and best practice standards in China’s leading stroke centers. For non-hospitalized patients, NHSc has also launched an ‘Easy Eating’ hotline.
In China, every year there are about 2.5 million new patients with stroke, of which about 30-65% suffer from dysphagia, making stroke the greatest cause of the condition in the hospital. Zhang Zhuo, secretary-general of CSA, commented, "In recent years, the number of stroke patients has increased every year. While strengthening the development of easy access channels for stroke to actively rescue patients, we should pay more attention to addressing the management of stroke complications, amongst which dysphagia is an important one.”
Patients suffering from dysphagia after a stroke have difficulties in drinking and eating and hardly return to the table at home, causing a huge psychological pressure and even depression amongst them. Recognizing this latest collaboration as part of a wider advance in Medical care in China, Ms. Cecily Gu, Regional Business Head of Nestlé Health Science Greater China Region said, "We see a clear evolution in the medical approach in China from addressing survival two decades ago to improving the quality of life now, especially the quality of life and mental health in the rehabilitation process."
Mr Greg Behar, CEO of Nestlé Health Science, added, "We are actively developing innovative nutritional therapies for conditions like dysphagia with the goal of improving patients’ quality of life. China is a very important part of this intention and we are delighted to serve the market in China, its healthcare system and its people.”