By: William Lin, Director Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson
What a difference a year makes. A year ago this month, Johnson & Johnson made a commitment to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals supporting maternal and child health. Part of the commitment was to expand the Company’s donation of mebendazole, a drug that treats children infected with intestinal worms.
More than 600 million school-age children are infected with intestinal worms, or soil transmitted helminthes (STH). They live in some of the poorest tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world.
Since last year’s announcement, our program partner, Children Without Worms (CWW) has been working hard to reach more children with this expanded commitment. This builds on our work over the last six years in eight countries and this year, we added Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Yemen.
In addition to making donations to new countries, we have also expanded our donations in countries that have demonstrated efficient and effective deworming programs that have not yet achieved national coverage. For instance, in Bangladesh where STH affects as many as 92 percent of school-age children in parts of the country, we’ve scaled up and will reach children in almost of half of the country’s districts with high disease prevalence. Starting in 2012, we plan to double the donation to Bangladesh allowing the government to put more than 10 million children on the road to better health. This year, with additions of new countries and expansions to existing countries, we have more than doubled our mebendazole donation from 36 million doses in 2010 to 80 million doses, reaching twice as many children. Continue reading