Case Study: Collaboration

Groundbreaking Partnership with Save the Children to Help Save 1 Million Lives, GSK


GSK and Save the Children have formed an ambitious long-term strategic global partnership combining our expertise, resources, and influence to help save the lives of 1 million children.

Through this partnership, we are focused on:

  • Developing child-friendly medicines to reduce child mortality rates and newborn deaths
  • Widening vaccination coverage to reduce the number of child deaths in the hardest-to-reach communities
  • Increasing investment in the training, reach, and scope of health workers in the poorest communities to help reduce child mortality rates
  • Researching new affordable nutritional products to address the needs of children to help alleviate malnutrition

This new partnership goes well beyond the traditional charity corporate fundraising model. It will touch many areas of our business, in particular using our research and development (R&D) capabilities.

We also recognize that often the best solutions to a particular challenge come from those living and working closest to it. With this in mind, the GSK and Save the Children partnership launched a new US$1 million Healthcare Innovation Award in June 2013 to identify and reward innovations in health care that have been successful in reducing child deaths in developing countries.

Lessons Learned?

Flagship signature programs will run initially in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Kenya. They will be closely monitored, and we will use the evidence they reveal about how to save children’s lives to replicate programs in other countries within Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Latin America. We aim to share a blueprint for a new way of working, transforming the traditional fundraising NGO/corporate model.

This work will build on GSK and Save the Children’s work on a number of public health projects over the past eight years.

Results to Date?

We are establishing signature programs in the DRC and Kenya to test their impact:

  • The first of our joint programs—the Integrated Project for the Battle against Childhood Diseases—will be rolled out in the DRC. Working with Save the Children, the government of the DRC, and communities, the program will deliver an integrated package of essential services for neonatal, maternal, and child health.
  • We have committed to support Save the Children Kenya’s newborn child survival program. The program will focus on improving health systems in order to reduce preventable diseases and to address the high mortality rates of children younger than five.

A joint R&D board has been established to explore the development of new or repurposed products to tackle the causes of newborn and infant death:

  • One of our first life-saving projects is the reformulation of chlorhexidine, an antiseptic commonly found in mouthwash, which is used to clean the umbilical cord in order to prevent infection in newborns. If applied for their first few days, this gel could play a vital role in preventing infection and saving babies’ lives.
  • We are also registering a child-friendly, powder-based antibiotic in the DRC to help fight pneumonia, one of the biggest killers of children younger than five.
  • In 2013, we held the first of our joint Healthcare Innovation Awards. The five innovations nominated to share it ranged from e-health and technology solutions to community programs and treatment strategies. The overall winner was Friends of Sick Children, Malawi, which has created a low-cost “bCPAP” (bubble continuous positive air pressure) device that helps babies breathe.

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