Leading health innovator PATH partners with Johnson & Johnson Vietnam to reduce childhood tuberculosis

February 26, 2016 by PATH

New initiative builds on PATH's longstanding commitment to support Vietnam's tuberculosis control efforts.

Tham Tran, PATH, ttran@path.org, +841238810235.

Hanoi, Vietnam, February 26, 2016–PATH today announced a new joint initiative with Johnson & Johnson (Vietnam) Co., Ltd, called Breath for Life, to strengthen tuberculosis (TB) prevention, detection, and treatment for children in Vietnam.

In partnership with the National Tuberculosis Control Program (NTP), the two-year project will be piloted in Nghe An, a province highly burdened with TB and HIV. By harnessing the capacity of the NTP and public and private health systems, Breath for Life presents a model that could potentially be replicated in other provinces.

TB is a significant cause of illness and death in children in many TB-endemic countries, with nearly 400 children losing their lives daily due to this disease.

"No one deserves to die from tuberculosis, especially children," noted National Tuberculosis Control Program Director, Dr. Nguyen Viet Nhung, as he opened the ceremony. "We must work together to end this epidemic."

The project will focus on tackling a number of challenges in managing pediatric TB in Vietnam, including training health workers at all levels and realizing the potential for collaboration between the NTP and both public and private healthcare facilities.

"A key priority will be to ensure health workers have the skills and capabilities to detect, treat, and manage pediatric TB. In addition, we will strengthen links and set up referral systems between relevant public and private health facilities," commented Dr. Kimberly Green, project director at PATH.

PATH has a long history supporting Vietnam tuberculosis control efforts, working with national and international partners to detect over 12,000 cases since 2008.

Protecting Vietnam's children

TB is a leading cause of mortality in Vietnam with an estimated 17,000 deaths per year, and children are particularly vulnerable. Recent data indicates that up to 90 percent of new childhood TB cases are currently undetected annually. TB progresses more rapidly in children and is harder to detect than in adults.

Deputy Director of the Nghe An Tuberculosis and Lung Disease Hospital, Dr. Thai Dinh Lam, joined the launch event and emphasized the significance and timeliness of the project. "Nghe An is a large province with a significant burden of tuberculosis. Approximately 2,800 new cases are detected annually, and children are particularly at risk. We are pleased to be partnering with PATH and Johnson & Johnson Vietnam to implement Breath for Life, improving childhood tuberculosis detection and management across four districts of Nghe An."

PATH and Johnson & Johnson Vietnam are committed to advancing tuberculosis control in the country. The organizations initiated Breath for Life in recognition that cross-sector collaboration plays a powerful roll in reducing childhood mortality and morbidity caused by TB.

"PATH's innovative approach to addressing TB, combined with their 35-year history in Vietnam makes them a natural choice as a partner given our commitment to design and deliver scalable innovations that drive measurable health outcomes for underserved populations," said Jason Carroll, Managing Director of Johnson & Johnson Vietnam.

Implemented by PATH, Breath for Life is supported by Janssen Pharmaceutica N.V., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.