The global public health (GPH) strategy of multi- national medical and global public health organisation Johnson & Johnson (J&J) will be implemented in South Africa, from where it will be taken further into Africa.
The GPH strategy uses representatives from across the J&J family of companies to deliver holistic, evidence-based healthcare solutions in Africa through innovation, collaboration and local empowerment.
These representatives trans- form the strategy into executable programmes that drive health impact in collaboration with African countries. The strategy is being implemented from J&J’s new on-the-ground global public health operations facility in Cape Town.
As part of the GBH strategy, J&J has announced that several of its new African partnerships will enhance national health system capacities as well as the research and development capabilities of African countries.
Moreover, the University of Cape Town’s drug discovery and development centre (H3D) has entered into a collaboration with J&J pharmaceuticals company Janssen Pharmaceutica NV.
By helping to expand critical research and development skills and capacity, the collaboration supports H3D’s vision of discover- ing and developing innovative medicine for unmet medical needs on the African continent and beyond.
J&J mobilises the GPH system and its resources behind a unified, versatile effort to deliver a sustain- able and measurable impact against significant public health needs.
“Public health in the develop- ing world faces enormous challenges that require unique solutions. By engaging, enabling and empowering local healthcare professionals, we can advance the research, development and distribution of new medicine and treatments that will make a difference for patients in Africa,” says J&J chairperson and CEO Alex Gorsky.
The strategy will focus on three core areas in its initial imple- mentation across Africa. These areas are HIV, tuberculosis and maternal, newborn and child health research. J&J is planning to expand the focus areas to address other unmet health needs.
The strategy uses an end-to-end approach, which includes early- stage disease-specific research, product development, manufacturing and distribution, and education and training resources.
The strategy leverages insights and expert capabilities from within the J&J consumer, medical device and pharmaceuticals businesses to support a network of local partnerships.
Business development teams from J&J companies are collabo- rating with African academic centres and entrepreneurs to set up incubation facilities to enable local medical-based start-up companies to conduct their business.
The engagement of J&J controlled professional operational management follows the model set up by J&J Innovation to provide research and development, product development, commercialisation, and legal and investment guidance for entrepreneurs and start-ups so that they may focus on achieving scientific advances.
“By directly engaging with and empowering researchers and the healthcare community across South Africa, we will be better able to direct resources and advance innovations that can lead to greater impact. This can work anywhere in the world, but our urgency right now has to be in Africa because of the patients in need,” says J&J pharmaceuticals MD Paul Stoffels.
The GPH strategy is expanding on the back of the company’s legacy and presence in Africa, which began in 1936, and brings additional investments to the more than 1 500 employees and three manufacturing sites within the J&J family of companies, which are already present on the continent. GPH satellite offices in Kenya and Ghana are planned to follow later this year.
“J&J has 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,” concludes J&J global operations and partnerships VP Alma Scott.
She concludes that solving last-mile challenges through local empowerment can help fuel the local economy and propel infrastructure investments in Third World countries.