Johnson & Johnson announced the official launch of its global public health (GPH) strategy during the opening of its companies’ on-the-ground GPH operations in Cape Town last week.

Through this global strategy, Johnson & Johnson aims to mobilise its GPH capabilities and resources behind a unified, multidisciplinary effort to deliver a sustainable, measurable impact against significant public health needs.

The initial implementation of the strategy starts with the new site in Cape Town, and will focus on three core areas: HIV, TB and Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.

The company plans to expand its focus areas to address other unmet global health needs and its geographic reach. GPH satellite offices in Kenya and Ghana are planned to follow later this year.

“Public health in the developing world faces enormous challenges that require unique solutions, and by engaging, enabling and empowering local healthcare professionals and entrepreneurs in this way, we can advance the research, development and distribution of new medicines and treatments that will make a difference for patients in Africa,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Johnson & Johnson, Alex Gorsky.

“Ultimately, we’re aspiring to build a healthy world free of disease, and our approach here is a potential blueprint for helping us and others succeed against that broader, global goal in the future,” continued Gorsky.

Johnson & Johnson’s GPH Africa operations team, along with representatives from across its family of companies, will translate the strategy into locally-executable programmes that drive health impact in collaboration with local health delivery partners.

The company’s GPH strategy will use an end-to-end approach, which includes early stage disease-specific research, product development, manufacturing and distribution, and education and training resources. It also will leverage insights and expert capabilities from within its consumer, medical device and pharmaceutical businesses to support a network of local partnerships.

Business development teams from Johnson & Johnson companies also will collaborate with African academic centres and entrepreneurs to set up incubation facilities to enable local medical-based start-up companies to conduct their business.

“This is a model based on innovation, collaboration and local empowerment that aims to address life threatening issues and deliver measurable results to improve outcomes for patients, families and communities, first across Africa, and more globally in the longer term,” said Chief Scientific Officer and Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals at Johnson & Johnson, Paul Stoffels, M.D.

“By directly engaging with and empowering researchers and the healthcare community across South Africa, we will be better able to direct our resources and advance innovations that can lead to greater impact. We think this can work anywhere in the world, but our urgency right now has to be in Africa because of the patients’ needs,” continued Stoffels.

“Local capacity building and empowerment are key aspects of this new approach and are critical to achieving sustainable outcomes,” said Head of Johnson & Johnson’s GPH organisation, Jaak Peeters.

“Our sights are set on achieving meaningful long-term results, such as eliminating multi-drug resistant TB or providing adolescent girls with tools they need to stay HIV-free and by working with local and global partners, we can create an ecosystem where we can help achieve those goals,” continued Peeters.

“We’ve learned over time that solving last-mile challenges through local empowerment and partnerships offers the greatest potential impact in the fight against public health challenges, and that it can also help fuel the local economy and catalyse infrastructure investments,” said Vice President of Global Operations and Partnerships for Johnson & Johnson’s GPH organisation, Alma Scott.

As part of Johnson & Johnson’s new GPH Africa operations in Cape Town, the organisation has embarked on an array of new partnerships, including the recently announced partnership with Unjani Clinics NPC to help strengthen health systems in vulnerable districts. The initial investment focuses on 19 clinics, with plans to scale to 50 clinics nationwide by 2018.

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