Johnson & Johnson Announces Series of Youth Initiatives Aimed at Helping to Empower a Generation to End Tuberculosis
Initiatives will focus on engaging young people as advocates in the fight against TB in high-burden countries and regions, including China, India, Southeast Asia and South Africa
Youth can help drive health-seeking behavior in themselves and those around them, which is critical to finding the “missing millions” of people living with undiagnosed TB
These efforts are part of the Company’s 10-year initiative aimed at helping to bring an end to the global TB epidemic, which claimed 1.5 million lives in 2020
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., March 24, 2022 – Today on World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, Johnson & Johnson (the Company) announced a series of initiatives in high TB burden countries aimed at helping to empower a generation of youth to end TB. The initiatives focus on supporting global efforts to help find the missing millions of people living with undiagnosed TB, and are part of Johnson & Johnson’s 10-year initiative to help drive progress toward the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal of ending this deadly, but preventable and treatable, disease by 2030.
Johnson & Johnson, together with the Central TB Division under the Ministry of Health of India, the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, Aquity Innovations and others, will support and engage young people to drive health-seeking behavior, build community awareness and reduce stigma to enhance early diagnosis of TB, and ultimately, help encourage people with the disease to seek the care and treatment they need.
“Young people everywhere are changing the world, and they can change the fight against TB, which continues to be one of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases,” said Martin Fitchet, M.D., Head of Global Public Health, Johnson & Johnson. “Johnson & Johnson is proud to be supporting efforts to put youth, who are both highly affected and highly connected, at the center of the global TB response, building on our decades-long legacy in the fight against this disease. By harnessing the power of youth in high-burden countries – and recognizing their role as agents of change in their communities – we can ensure no one is left behind, paving the way to a healthier, TB-free generation.”
Youth represent a vulnerable population in the fight against TB. An estimated 1.8 million young people aged 10-24, or 17 percent of the global TB burden, develop TB each year, with the highest burden occurring in Southeast Asia and Africa. TB transmission rates in this age group can be up to 20 times higher than other populations, due in part to having a wider range of personal contacts outside of the home. Despite this risk, young people are less likely to seek care due to a lack of awareness of TB symptoms, stigma associated with the disease, structural barriers in accessing complex health systems, and a lack of family and social support, leading to millions going without diagnosis or treatment.
These factors make youth critically important to the effort to help end TB. Young people aged 10-24 represent the largest generation of youth in history with 42 percent of the global population under 25. Further, young people aged 12-24 in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, regions that have high TB burdens, make up nearly half of the global youth population. They’re also more connected to each other and the world than ever before. Nearly three-quarters of young people globally are online, and many are actively engaged in social and civic activities, making them particularly adept at leveraging social media and emerging technologies. This uniquely positions them to advocate for changes in health-seeking behavior in both themselves and those around them, increase awareness and reduce misconceptions about TB in their communities.
“To build a world without TB, we must bring this disease out of the shadows and address the biggest barriers that prevent people from seeking care,” said Anna Caravaggio, Vice President of Global Public Health Franchises, Johnson & Johnson. “Young people can play a key role in bringing about this change, which is why it’s so important to meaningfully invest in the potential of youth as champions of change for themselves, their families, their peers and their communities. The actions we take today will not only impact their futures – but could echo for generations to come.”
Collaborating to Empower Youth in the Fight Against TB
Johnson & Johnson is supporting new initiatives to help catalyze people living with TB to seek care for themselves and encourage others around them to do the same by reaching, engaging and enabling young people aged 15-24 to take action in high-burden countries. Through these initiatives, Johnson & Johnson aims to engage up to 4 million young people on social media, or through TB screening. These include the following:
- As part of the Company’s commitment to the Corporate TB Pledge, a joint initiative with the Central TB Division, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in India, and United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Johnson & Johnson India is launching a youth-focused, digital-first campaign called Be the Change Badlaav (change in Hindi). Through social media, chatbots and more, the initiative aims to create youth “changemakers” for TB to encourage health-seeking behavior, increase awareness about the disease and build youth engagement and participation in support of the Indian Government’s vision of a TB-free India. The program is being launched with the strong support of popular Indian youth icons – including Vaani Kapoor, a renowned Bollywood actress as the face of the campaign, and Kunal Pandagale, also known as Kaam Bhaari, a young Indian hip-hop rapper and lyricist – to inspire Indian youth to join the movement.
- The MTV Staying Alive Foundation will be expanding on the success of MTV Nishedh, a youth-focused “edutainment” campaign in India, which was supported through an educational grant from Johnson & Johnson and reached more than 35 million people across TV and radio in 2020-2021. As part of the expansion, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, the MTV Staying Alive Foundation will deploy Nivi‘s askNivi chatbot, providing young people in India with information on TB, such as the signs and symptoms of disease, facts to debunk common myths and individualized recommendations to seek geo-referenced care for those affected by TB.
- Johnson & Johnson – together with the International Health Exchange and Cooperation Center of the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China, the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), and the Zhejiang and Sichuan Provincial CDCs and Education Bureaus – is launching a youth volunteer and patient finding program in the Zhejiang and Sichuan provinces of China. The initiative will leverage and train student volunteers across 40 participating universities to build increased awareness of TB among students in an effort to encourage health-seeking behavior and improve early diagnosis. Following the year-long program, learnings will be included in a “TB volunteer best practices” manual published by the China CDC.
- In Southeast Asia, Johnson & Johnson is launching a concerted regional effort across Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam to engage youth to take charge of their country’s TB trajectory by actively managing their own health and advocating for those around them. The first of several initiatives includes the launch of “TB Warriors,” four new interactive Facebook and Instagram filters and an educational website that provide youth with resources and information on TB in a fun and engaging way. In the coming months, young people in Southeast Asia can look forward to a web-based “TB Warriors” game, as well as a hackathon for innovative and creative solutions that can inspire health-seeking behavior for TB among their generation.
- Johnson & Johnson collaborated with the Philippine Tuberculosis Society, Inc. and the local government youth group to launch an “end-to-end” youth community case finding initiative, from awareness to care. The program will engage Filipinos aged 15-24 to build advocates for TB awareness and identify youth within the local communities most at risk for TB, ensuring they receive comprehensive education, screening, support and encouragement to recognize the signs and symptoms of TB and seek the care they need.
- Johnson & Johnson is expanding on its collaboration with Aquity Innovations in South Africa, which helped contribute to a 70 percent increase in case notifications in pediatric drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) in the Eastern Cape Province since 2017, in coordination with EPCON to reach 0-24-year-olds. The new initiative will focus on designing programs to help improve health-seeking behaviors and conducting a new insight study to better understand barriers to care for children and youth. Additionally, Aquity will deploy artificial intelligence-enabled mapping provided by EPCON to help improve case-finding activities.
Collaboration is essential to maximize the impact of these programs and drive new learnings. To that end, Johnson & Johnson is convening some of the critical players across TB, youth services and global health to advance solutions to share best practices and more efficiently engage and activate youth in the fight against TB.
“Every individual and every organization has the potential to make an impact in the fight against TB,” said Sarthak Ranade, Managing Director at Janssen India, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. “We invite people everywhere to join us in our mission of reducing the burden of TB by raising awareness in your community and advocating for health-seeking behavior. With the power of multi-sector partnerships coming together in numbers and uniting under one common cause, we can help turn the tide against this devastating disease – once and for all.”
Johnson & Johnson’s Longstanding Commitment to TB
Johnson & Johnson has been a committed partner – from the lab to the last mile of healthcare – in the global fight against TB for more than two decades.
In 2012, Johnson & Johnson introduced the first novel TB medicine in nearly half a century, which is now recommended by the WHO as a core component of all-oral multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) treatment regimens. Since then, Johnson & Johnson has worked collaboratively to facilitate global access to the medicine, which is available to more than 135 low- and middle-income countries through the Stop TB Partnership’s Global Drug Facility, while also safeguarding its long-term effectiveness. To date, Johnson & Johnson has provided more than 470,000 courses of treatment to patients in 153 countries, including the 30 countries with the highest burdens of DR-TB.
The Company is also working to advance research and development for the next generation of TB drugs and regimens, both in our own labs and as a member of the PAN-TB and UNITE4TB collaborations and the AMR Action Fund. Additionally, in July 2021, Johnson & Johnson launched the first Satellite Center for Global Health Discovery at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine with the aim of accelerating the early-stage science needed to address the entrenched threat of DR-TB.
These efforts are part of Johnson & Johnson’s 10-year TB initiative, launched in 2018, aimed at helping to drive progress toward the UN Sustainable Development Goal target of ending TB by 2030. The initiative focuses on three pillars: broadening access to and accelerating scale-up of the Company’s MDR-TB medicine, supporting global efforts to find the “missing millions” of people living with TB who have not yet been diagnosed, and investing in the development of new TB drugs and regimens. In support of this initiative, in 2019, Johnson & Johnson announced a $500 million, four-year investment to support the discovery, development and delivery of new tools to combat the interrelated epidemics of TB and HIV.
To learn more, visit JNJ.com/TB.
TB is a respiratory disease which sickened 10 million people and killed approximately 1.5 million people in 2020. Underserved communities bear the largest burden, with more than 95 percent of deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. While TB incidence has been declining over the last decade, the COVID-19 pandemic is setting back decades of hard-won global progress. In 2020, 1.3 million fewer people were diagnosed and treated for TB than in 2019, and more than two years into the pandemic, essential TB care and service delivery continue to face ongoing disruptions, according to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) survey.
Growing resistance to commonly used medicines is compounding the challenge. Worldwide in 2020, there were an estimated 500,000 new cases of DR-TB, but just one third of these patients were diagnosed. Further, DR-TB is a significant contributor to the threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which in 2019 killed an estimated 5 million people – posing a major threat to human health and global health security.
About the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson
At Janssen, we’re creating a future where disease is a thing of the past. We’re the Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, working tirelessly to make that future a reality for patients everywhere by fighting sickness with science, improving access with ingenuity and healing hopelessness with heart. We focus on areas of medicine where we can make the biggest difference: Cardiovascular & Metabolism, Immunology, Infectious Diseases & Vaccines, Neuroscience, Oncology and Pulmonary Hypertension.
Learn more at www.janssen.com. Follow us at @JanssenUS and @JanssenGlobal. Cilag GmbH International, Janssen, Inc., Johnson & Johnson Private Ltd., and Janssen India are part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.
About Johnson & Johnson
At Johnson & Johnson, we believe good health is the foundation of vibrant lives, thriving communities and forward progress. That’s why for more than 130 years, we have aimed to keep people well at every age and every stage of life. Today, as the world’s largest and most broadly-based health care company, we are committed to using our reach and size for good. We strive to improve access and affordability, create healthier communities, and put a healthy mind, body and environment within reach of everyone, everywhere. We are blending our heart, science and ingenuity to profoundly change the trajectory of health for humanity. Learn more at www.jnj.com. Follow us at @JNJNews.
Cautions Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains “forward-looking statements” as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 regarding initiatives related to tuberculosis. The reader is cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements. These statements are based on current expectations of future events. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or known or unknown risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results could vary materially from the expectations and projections of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, and/or Johnson & Johnson. Risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: challenges and uncertainties inherent in product research and development, including the uncertainty of clinical success and of obtaining regulatory approvals; uncertainty of commercial success; manufacturing difficulties and delays; competition, including technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges to patents; product efficacy or safety concerns resulting in product recalls or regulatory action; changes in behavior and spending patterns of purchasers of health care products and services; changes to applicable laws and regulations, including global health care reforms; and trends toward health care cost containment. A further list and descriptions of these risks, uncertainties and other factors can be found in Johnson & Johnson’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended January 2, 2022, including in the sections captioned “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” and “Item 1A. Risk Factors,” and in Johnson & Johnson’s subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Copies of these filings are available online at www.sec.gov, www.jnj.com or on request from Johnson & Johnson. None of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies nor Johnson & Johnson undertakes to update any forward-looking statement as a result of new information or future events or developments.
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