Assistance to children and patients living in area’s where Kashin-Beck Disease is endemic. We will fulfil this commitment by implementing appropriate and sustainable prevention programmes and researching the causes of the causes of the disease, with the goal of alleviating the pain and physical handicap caused by the Kashin-Beck disease
Kashin-Beck disease (KBD), also known as ‘Big Bone Disease’ is a disabling disease of the bones and joints that leads to stunted growth and deformity of the joints. It mainly affects remote, rural populations and has been reported in 13 provinces and 2 autonomous regions of China as well as in Siberia and North Korea. The disease’s aetiology is not yet fully understood, but medical researchers believe it is related to micronutrient deficiences in food and to fungal contamination of stored grains.
In 1992, Médecins Sans Frontières-Belgium collaborated with local authorities in the TAR in a research project to learn more about the disease, to test prevention strategies and to offer physiotherapy and other forms of physical rehabilitation to people who suffer from it. However, MSF Belgium later closed its programme in the TAR. The Kashin-Beck Disease Foundation was established in Belgium in 2002 by people who had worked on the MSF project, to carry out the work that had begun in Tibet.
The foundation concentrates especially on improving the nutrition and health of children in areas where the disease in endemic. Activities include providing micronutrient supplements to children in vulnerable families, and large-scale grain decontamination efforts on the harvest. It has also started to build individual greenhouses to diversify the diet and enlarge the period of consumption of fresh ailments. Research programs are still undertaken and the foundation also monitors the disease in China, where it is networking with other Chinese research centres and promoting public awareness and undertanding of it. The foundation seeks to mobilise new research prevention and remedial initiatives.
The foundation’s work is supported by grants from governments and foundations including, at present, the Belgian Government. The foundation is also registered in Hong Kong and is granted to give tax exemption