In the Philippines, Johnson & Johnson is actively advancing its ongoing campaign against tuberculosis (TB) through an education campaign called TB Warriors to empower the youth to end TB. This campaign is part of the company’s continued efforts to help fight the deadly, but preventable and curable disease. The nationwide initiative expands on the TB Warriors program first introduced in 2022. This year, the TB Warriors campaign was launched during the TB Warrior Partners’ Meeting, which was supported by the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), TB People Philippines and Youth organizations in the country.
The initiative seeks to engage young Filipinos in the fight against TB within the country, with a strong belief in the youth’s potential to motivate themselves and others to prioritize their health. This is crucial in identifying and supporting the ‘missing millions’ of people living with undiagnosed TB. As young people gain more knowledge about TB, they transform into powerful advocates driven by their desire to bring about positive changes in their communities. These efforts are part of Johnson & Johnson’s 10-year TB initiative aimed at helping to bring an end to the global TB epidemic, which claimed 1.6 million lives in 2021.
“We at Johnson & Johnson Philippines have been advocating for TB in the Southeast Asia region since 2015, collaborating with amazing TB stakeholders and the DOH on drug donations, supporting medical education and public awareness in TB. In recent years, we continue to partner to elevate literacy in youth to support efforts to find the missing TB patients. We understand that awareness is the catalyst for action, and by equipping the youth with the right knowledge, we extend our influence to impact more lives, guiding them towards a future free from TB,” stated Stephanie Lao-Iliscupidez, Global Public Health Manager, Johnson & Johnson Philippines.
TB remains among the world’s deadliest infectious diseases, with millions of people going undiagnosed and untreated each year. The Asia Pacific region holds two-thirds of the global TB burden with a disproportionate impact on its youth, and the Philippines specifically is the fourth-largest contributor to the global TB burden.
Collaborating to Empower Youth in the Fight Against TB
TB Warrior Partners’ Meeting and Kick Off at Seda Hotel, Quezon City.
As an innovator and change catalyst, Johnson & Johnson emphasizes the importance of igniting innovation and meaningful collaboration with local key TB stakeholders. This includes the TB Warriors campaign, which was first launched in 2022 in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam to empower youth to advocate for their community by sharing TB resources through social media and mobile games.
The TB Warriors campaign leverages learning from Project inSight, a person-centered research study led by Johnson & Johnson in partnership with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. This project aimed at understanding the personal journey of someone becoming diagnosed and living with TB in the Philippines and Indonesia, and to develop strategies that accelerate individuals into appropriate diagnosis and care.
These included four significant insights uncovered across this study: (1) people believe their TB symptoms are either a result of a common illness or of their lifestyles, (2) people will not seek care until one or more symptoms affect their ability to provide for their family, (3) even if the individual is concerned about worsening symptoms, they prioritize their family’s needs over their own, and (4) as individuals reach a presumptive diagnosis, they struggle to engage in care due to costs (time, financial, and social). But once informed, youth can play a pivotal role in TB case finding and become powerful advocates. These findings significantly contributed to the initial ideas of youth empowerment as advocates in the fight against TB in Southeast Asian countries.
To continue leveraging the TB Warriors platform, Johnson & Johnson Philippines is now collaborating with several national government agencies, local government units, advocacy groups, and youth organizations to host school caravans across institutions in Region 3, Region 4A, and National Capital Region, which are known to be areas with highest TB burdens in the country.
This collaboration aims to continue the efforts of the TB Warriors platform in addressing the TB epidemic. Additionally, the company has partnered with various youth organizations nationwide to ensure their commitment to increasing awareness of the initiative. In the TB Warrior school activity at the University of the Philippines Diliman last August 2, 2023, the UP Red Cross Youth Vice President for Projects and Operations, Colleen Dennyli Guillermo, highlighted that “TB Warrior was able to compact all needed TB information in one location on the internet. Awareness is needed before treatment can be possible. But to get people to actually check the website, especially targeting youth, the formula needs to involve gadgets and some attention-grabbing content. TB Warrior definitely grabbed attention with its games and cool-looking website!”
Dr. Marlon Joselito Roberto “Biboy” Molano, Medical Officer III of Quezon City Health Department said “To end TB advocacy has already started ever since, but its continuity rests within our youth. The Johnson and Johnson TB warrior campaign allows our youth to be well-informed. It’s a game-changer. It provides users to assess themselves in the context of Tuberculosis. And by increasing the awareness of our youth and community, it allows users to disclose symptoms and habituate into an early health-seeking individual, thereby increasing notifications from disease reporting units. Truly, TB warriors will generate a significant improvement in our program.”
By enabling the youth to access care, safeguarding their health, and ensuring their meaningful participation in the global TB eradication movement, aided by resources like the TB Warriors website, a path is paved toward a safer, healthier, and more equitable TB-free world.
Check the TB Warriors website here: https://www.tuberculosiswarriors.com/
Johnson & Johnson’s Longstanding Commitment to TB
For more than two decades, Johnson & Johnson has been a committed global partner in the fight against TB.
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 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 620,000 courses of treatment to patients in 159 countries, including the 30 countries with the highest burdens of DR-TB.
Alongside this work, the Company is also working to advance research and development for the next generation of TB drugs and regimens, both in their labs and with leading global health organizations, and is helping to identify, diagnose, and bring into treatment the “missing millions” of undiagnosed people with 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.
To learn more, visit www.JNJ.com/TB.