The Stop TB Partnership & “Hello Kitty”
join forces to end TB in children
10 November 2020, Geneva, Switzerland - The Stop TB Partnership (STBP) and the famous Japanese icon Hello Kitty by Sanrio Co. Ltd are teaming up to raise global awareness to curb tuberculosis (TB) in children, #StopTBwithHelloKitty, at a virtual unveiling event held today in Geneva, Switzerland. On a global scale, approximately 1.2 million children contract TB every year, with an estimated 200,000 children needlessly dying from the disease.
Sanrio GmbH, a group company of Sanrio Co. Ltd, the global brand behind Hello Kitty, the much-loved global character and Stop TB Partnership jointly launch a campaign to #EndTB aimed at raising awareness in children with TB and drug-resistant TB, the challenges they face in getting diagnosed and treated and the urgent need for increased investment and innovation in TB diagnosis and treatment. TB is a curable disease, but among infectious diseases, it has been the biggest killer globally for the past 8 years.
“We are very proud of becoming a TB Champion. I am happy to say that the good news is that there is a cure for TB and that she is looking forward to support children and their parents in seeking timely diagnosis, treatment and care for TB and prevent further spread,” said Silvia Figini, Chief Operating Officer Sanrio – EMEA, India and Oceania, Mr Men – Worldwide.
“Children, adolescents and families affected by TB and drug-resistant TB need special care and support throughout their TB journey and beyond. The Hello Kitty collaboration may add interest and incentives for small children and act as a message of support for older children and adolescent affected by TB. Child friendly, second line and all oral regimens make children’s TB treatment easier and free of painful injections,” said Dr. Farhana Amanullah (Pakistan), Chair Child and Adolescent TB, Stop TB Partnership Working Group.
Tuberculosis is a disease that mainly infects the lungs and is transmitted through the air. Like COVID-19, it can spread when someone coughs, speaks, sings or laughs close to you.
“TB is a curable infectious disease that, unfortunately continues to affect 10 million people every year, including more than 1 million children worldwide. TB is difficult to diagnose and treat in children, and it becomes even harder when it is resistant to drugs. Unfortunately, up to 32,000 children develop drug-resistant TB each year and only 3 in 10 are diagnosed with only a very small portion, around 5000 kids receive treatment for it,” said Dr. Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership. ”Children with TB are the real victims – they get infected by adults, and they do not spread the diseases further. The story behind every child with TB or drug-resistant TB is heartbreaking.”
Two years ago, on 26 September 2018, the United Nations General Assembly held its first-ever high-level meeting on the fight against tuberculosis. Under the heading: “United to end tuberculosis: an urgent response to a global epidemic,” world leaders pledged their support to increase efforts to fight TB and to ensure that by 2022, 3.5 million children with TB would receive the treatment they need, including 115,000 children with drug-resistant TB.
In 2019, the Global Drug Facility of Stop TB – with support from USAID and Government of Japan launched an initiative to ensure that children with drug-resistant TB have access to child-friendly medicines, which dissolves in water, taste better and are easier for a child to swallow. These new drugs are now available in more than 50 countries.
“Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the world, but we should always think of the hazardous consequence that could emerge if we do not tackle TB and other global health issues. We continue to work to end TB in children and avoid undermining years of hard work due to this pandemic,” said Kazuho Taguchi, Director, Office of Global Health Cooperation, International Affairs Division, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan.
As we draw closer to the looming 2022 deadline, it is essential that we step up our combined efforts and remind the world of the promises it made in New York to protect children and end TB for good.
Together with Hello Kitty, Stop TB calls upon global leaders to fulfil their promises and accelerate action needed by providing the necessary support, investment, research and innovation to end the disease by 2030 as part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 3, target 3.3).
About the Stop TB Partnership
The Stop TB Partnership is a unique United Nations hosted entity based in Geneva, Switzerland, committed to revolutionizing the tuberculosis space to end the disease by 2030. The organization aligns more than 2,000 partners worldwide to promote cross-sectoral collaboration. The Stop TB Partnership’s various teams and initiatives take bold and smart risks to identify, fund and support innovative approaches, ideas, and solutions to ensure the TB community has a voice at the highest political levels and that all TB affected people have access to affordable, quality, and people-centered care.
Sanrio is the global lifestyle brand best known for the pop icon Hello Kitty. Home to many endearing characters including Gudetama, Chococat, My Melody, Bad Badtz-Maru and Kerokerokeroppi, Sanrio was founded on the “small gift, big smile” philosophy – that a small gift can bring happiness and friendship to people of all ages. Since 1960, this philosophy has served as the inspiration for the broad spectrum of unique products and experiences offered by the company. Today, Sanrio boasts an extensive product line up of around 50,000 products in 130 countries. In addition, Sanrio is operating two theme parks in Japan—Sanrio Puroland and Harmonyland—and also licensing Sanrio characters for theme parks overseas including in China.