GSK and Save the Children launch 2015 call for developing country healthcare innovations to reduce child deaths
GSK and Save the Children today announced the launch of their third annual $1 million Healthcare Innovation Award that rewards innovations in healthcare that have helped to reduce child deaths in developing countries.
From the 15 July – 7 September 2015, organisations from across developing countries can nominate examples of innovative health approaches they have implemented. These approaches must have resulted in tangible improvements to under-5 child survival rates, be sustainable and have the potential to be scaled-up and replicated.
With millions of people still lacking access to basic healthcare, this year, there will be a special focus on innovations that aim to strengthen developing country health systems and have proven to help increase access to public healthcare for pregnant women, mothers and children under five. Strengthening health systems for everyone in developing countries is an integral element of GSK and Save the Children’s partnership, which champions universal health coverage to help ensure equitable, accessible healthcare for all. Last year’s Ebola epidemic was one example of the need for new solutions and approaches to address the systemic challenges that weaken healthcare systems.
Ramil Burden, vice-president for Africa and Developing Countries at GSK, said: “Robust healthcare systems are the backbone of thriving communities but too many countries still lack the trained health workers and facilities they need to manage everyday health challenges, let alone crises like the catastrophic outbreak of Ebola. Through this year’s award, we hope to identify and support those innovations that are most effectively helping to strengthen health systems so that mothers and children are better able to access the care they need, when they need it.”
Mavis Owusu-Gyamfi, Director of Programme Policy and Quality at Save the Children, said: “Poor health systems lead to millions of children dying from preventable illnesses. The Ebola crisis has taught us that failure to address this problem could easily lead to a global public health crisis. It isn’t enough to focus just on single interventions such as fixing hospitals and clinics, providing vaccines or medicines, recruiting and training more health staff – we have to look at all these things together including how they are financed and governed. By making good health systems the norm in poor countries rather than the exception, millions of lives will be saved. Ambitious ideas are needed to solve this challenge and we hope this year to find proven ideas that we can help take to scale.”
Co-chaired by Sir Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK, and Justin Forsyth, CEO of Save the Children, a judging panel, made up of experts from the fields of public health, science and academia, will award all or part of the funds to one or more of the best healthcare innovations.
As well as providing funding, this year’s Healthcare Innovation Award will provide a platform to review and evaluate new approaches to health system challenges, to recognise those that are having an impact, and share their learnings with the wider global health community.
Further details on the judging process and criteria can be found online at https://www.innocentive.com/ar/challenge/9933768.
Entries close on 7 September at 11:59pm (GMT). Winners are expected to be announced in November.
About the Healthcare Innovation Award:
The Healthcare Innovation Award was announced following the launch of GSK and Save the Children’s ambitious new partnership in May 2013, which aims to save the lives of 1 million children in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. One of the most unique aspects of the partnership is the focus on working together to maximise innovations to tackle under-5 child mortality. For example, Save the Children is involved in helping GSK to research and develop child-friendly medicines, with a seat on a new paediatric R&D board to accelerate progress on innovative life-saving interventions for under-fives, and to identify ways to ensure the widest possible access in the developing world.
Last year’s top prize was awarded jointly to the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in South Africa and ColaLife in Zambia. UKZN developed a project to promote life-saving breast feeding for vulnerable premature babies including a mobile phone app to aid the safe pasteurization and storage of donated human breast milk. ColaLife’s project adapted the supply chains used to get soft drinks and other consumer goods to remote areas to deliver a specially tailored diarrhoea treatment kit for infants. Both organisations were awarded $350,000 to take forward their work.
While good progress has been made in recent years, every year more than 6 million children worldwide still die before their fifth birthday. Often these children are in the most remote and marginalised communities. The GSK and Save the Children Healthcare Innovation Award aims to discover and encourage replication of the best and most innovative examples of healthcare to have the biggest impact for vulnerable children.
1) Be from a country classified as ‘low’, ‘lower-middle’, or ‘upper-middle’ income by the World Bank (http://data.worldbank.org/country). Countries classified as ‘high income’ by the World Bank or that are in the European Union are not eligible (http://europa.eu/about-eu/countries/index_en.htm).
2) Describe an innovative approach or process applied to under-5 child survival that can demonstrate impact within an eligible country