J&J collaborates to launch campaign on Tb

Programme aims to raise awareness and reduce stigma of TB among young people in India

J&J, Campaign on Tb, Johnson & Johnson, Johnson & Johnson Services Inc, MTV, Alive Foundation, Government of India, MTV Nishedh, MTV India, Sarthak Ranade, MTV Shuga, HIV, Reproductive health, Reproductive health across Africa

Johnson & Johnson Services Inc has announced collaboration with the internationally acclaimed social change organisation The MTV Staying Alive Foundation on a youth-focused “edutainment” campaign in India, MTV Nishedh, which aims to raise awareness and reduce stigma around critical health and social issues facing young people.

Through an educational grant, Johnson & Johnson is supporting the inclusion of tuberculosis (TB) messaging for the very first time in an MTV Staying Alive campaign, as part of the Company’s 10-year initiative to fight TB and in support of the Government of India’s goal of ending TB by 2025.

On January 16, one of the seminal components of the MTV Nishedh campaign – a 7-week, 13-part TV drama series, which will air beginning on January 25, 2020 at 8 pm IST on MTV India – was officially
announced at an event in Mumbai. Among other storylines, the drama follows the struggles and triumphs of two characters with TB to help inform young people about the signs and symptoms of the disease, encourage those who might be affected to seek care, and debunk common myths to help reduce the social stigma often faced by patients.

“It’s time to make more people aware of TB, remove the stigma associated with the disease, and help those in need of treatment access the best possible care,” said Sarthak Ranade, Managing Director, Janssen India, Johnson & Johnson Private Limited.

“At Johnson & Johnson, we have been working closely with the Government of India, NGOs and other local partners to combat TB and drug-resistant TB at all levels by building capacity and expanding access to treatment. Building on this commitment, our Company is incredibly proud to support the MTV Nishedh campaign to empower youth and advocate for a TB-free India.”

Despite being a preventable and treatable disease, TB kills one person every minute in India, and the vast majority of TB cases are reported among young people in their most productive years. Of the 10
million estimated cases of TB in 2018, only 7 million were diagnosed, meaning there are 3 million “missing” patients who are not aware they are infected – approximately 700,000 of which live in India.
Further, the emergence of drug-resistant TB has made addressing the disease even more challenging, and TB is now the leading cause of deaths due to antimicrobial resistance globally. Stigma and lack of
awareness are often key reasons why those affected are not diagnosed and treated.

By engaging young people – which comprise two-thirds of the population in India – MTV Nishedh is setting out to address this. The campaign builds on the success of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation’s
multi-award-winning campaign with proven impact, MTV Shuga, which has helped to generate positive behavior change around HIV and sexual and reproductive health across Africa.

In addition to the TV drama, the J&J-supported campaign also includes a 15-part MTV Nishedh Live radio programme, which has been airing on RED FM since October, as well as compelling and informative online content. A peer-to-peer education program, which will feature TB modules, will also be launching soon.

“We are thrilled to be working with Johnson & Johnson to include TB in our campaign programming for the first time – particularly in India, a country so hard hit by this devastating disease,” said Georgia
Arnold, Executive Director of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation and Executive Producer of MTV Nishedh.