Sarah Omega in Kenya, Yu Haixia in China and Megan Johnson in the United States share something in common. Each of these mother’s lives has been touched by Johnson & Johnson and its network of community-based partners, working together to better health and save and improve lives.
“Caring for the health of mothers and children has been a pillar of our philanthropic initiatives for the last 100 years,” says Sharon D’Agostino, Vice President, Worldwide Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson.
In 2010, Johnson & Johnson continued its long-standing legacy with a five-year commitment in response to the United Nations’ call to action to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) of reducing mortality in women and children by 2015. The commitment aims to help as many as 120 million women each year over the next five years, reaching 50 countries through our philanthropic programs.
“We have a responsibility to share our resources and bring the latest knowledge, technology and medicine to improve the lives of women and children,” says D’Agostino.
The MDG commitment includes research and development efforts to bring forward new treatments for HIV and tuberculosis; 200 million doses annually of mebendazole, a treatment for intestinal worms in children (see the Company’s 2009 annual report); extended support for a variety of safe birth programs; and a significant expansion of mobile health initiatives in countries with high infant mortality rates and high mobile penetration, such as Bangladesh, China, India, Mexico, Nigeria and South Africa.
As an extension of the MDG commitment, Johnson & Johnson has formed a partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which is supported by the United Nations Foundation, mHealth Alliance and BabyCenter LLC. This partnership, Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA), will harness the power of mobile technology to deliver vital health information to new and expectant mothers. Over the next three years, the partnership will work across an initial set of three countries, Bangladesh, India and South Africa, to help coordinate and increase the impact of existing mobile health programs to improve maternal health.
SAFE PREGNANCY AND BIRTH PROGRAMS
Sarah Omega suffered 12 years of incontinence and social rejection because of fistula, an injury resulting from prolonged childbirth. “It was the first time I could afford a genuine smile,” she says, recalling the day it was repaired. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) estimates that more than 2 million women have untreated fistulas, and approximately 100,000 more develop the condition each year. Johnson & Johnson supports UNFPA and key hospitals such as Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia and Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to prevent and treat fistula and help survivors rebuild their lives.
Another example of a safe birth program: When Yu Haixia’s son, Song Xiaoyan, was born, he could not breathe on his own until nurses performed life-giving resuscitation. Xiaoyan is one of thousands of children given new life through China’s Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP), a joint effort by Johnson & Johnson, the Chinese Ministry of Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics to address birth asphyxia—when a baby is unable to breathe at birth. Since its launch in late 2004, more than 100,000 medical professionals from more than 20 provinces have been trained. In studies conducted by the Chinese Ministry of Health, birth asphyxia mortality declined by 53 percent in the 360 hospitals surveyed.
MOBILE HEALTH FOR MOTHERS
Alessandra, 2, is the joy of her mother Megan Johnson’s life. But so far, Megan’s second pregnancy seems much harder on her than her first. So the Middletown, Conn., mom is using the text4baby service for help. “Messages and reminders from text4baby help put me at ease. Being relaxed is better for me and my baby,” she says.
Text4baby offers free health information for expectant mothers and through a baby’s first year of life, easily accessible through cell phones. This landmark project is made possible through a public-private partnership that includes government, corporations, academic institutions, professional associations, trial agencies and nonprofit organizations. Johnson & Johnson is the founding sponsor of the text4baby service and expanded its commitment in 2010 with a multimillion-dollar, multi-year pledge. This support will significantly accelerate the reach of text4baby in the United States.
“The impact we have on people’s lives is a vitally important aspect of our giving and caring as a company,” says D’Agostino. “Equally important is the support we provide to our community-based partners. We provide strategic guidance as well as financial support, working with these organizations to measure their results and ensure that programs are having the desired effect.”
In the last decade, Johnson & Johnson and its operating companies have provided more than $4.3 billion in grants, product donations and patient assistance, touching lives around the world.