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. The campaign, #StopTBwithHelloKitty, was announced at a virtual event on Tuesday 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.”