Case Study: Developing Health Systems Resources

Strengthening Healthcare Systems Through Investment in Community Health Workers, GlaxoSmithKline


Since 2009, GSK has reinvested 20% of profits generated in the world’s Least-Developed Countries (LDCs) into community programmes to strengthen healthcare infrastructure in those countries, primarily through the training of community health workers. We do this in partnership with three NGOs: Save the Children, AMREF and Care International.

The chronic shortage of trained frontline health workers in LDCs is recognised as one ofthe most fundamental constraints to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Our investment will contribute to a wider goal across all our community investment programmes to improve access to healthcare for 20 million under-served people by 2020 (vs. 2012).

The 20% reinvestment programme is designed to be truly sustainable, as our investment grows as countries themselves continue to invest in healthcare infrastructure.

Lessons Learned

Since launching our 20% reinvestment programme we have worked closely with our NGO partners to establish sustainable programmes in-country. In 2012 we reached the milestone of having established 20% reinvestment projects in all of the 34 Least Developed Countries where we make a profit.

All established programmes have robust monitoring processes in place to measure impact and support ongoing review and optimisation.

Key lessons learned and insights for impactful delivery of 20% reinvestment. • Delivering programmes through NGO partners who have experience of working in respective countries has accelerated our ability to initiate programmes and invest into existing programmes. There are economies of scale gained from working with fewer, more established partners.

  • In-country Ministry of Health guidance, endorsement and ongoing involvement is key to the long-term impact of programmes, including sustainability, scalability and replicability. All programmes must demonstrate Ministry of Health commitment prior to approval
  • It’s important to understand key bottlenecks and resource gaps in health systems to ensure programmes are relevant and impactful.
  • Linkage to GSK's above-country initiatives is important to ensure we gain a strategic, global perspective on investment in community health workers. Strong monitoring and evaluation processes provide these above-country initiatives with timely and value-adding information.

Results to Date

  • In 2012 we invested £3.8m into healthcare worker training in the Least Developed Countries (based on 2011 profits). This funding will contribute to the training of 10,000 health workers and reach five million people over the next three years.
  • Three specific examples of how our 20% reinvestment programmes are having an impact include.
  • In Niger we have trained 594 community health volunteers to screen children for signs of illness and malnutrition, and promoted local health services that support over 240,000 people with Save the Children.
  • In Bangladesh we have trained 120 community health workers and established 46 community support groups to provide essential health services, health education, awareness and support to over 40,000 families in the rural north-east of the country with CARE International.
  • In Tanzania and Uganda we have provided e-learning for remote professional development of nurses and midwives working in rural areas with AMREF.

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