GlaxoSmithKline and Save the Children launched a $1 million Healthcare Innovation Award to identify and reward innovations in healthcare which have proven successful in reducing child deaths in developing countries.
From the 27th June – 26th August, organisations from across the developing world can nominate examples of innovative healthcare approaches they have discovered or 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.
Co-chaired by Sir Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK, and Justin Forsyth, CEO of Save the Children, the Judging Panel, made up of experts from the fields of public health, science and academia, will award $250,000 to the best healthcare innovation to further progress their work. An additional $750,000 is available for runners-up awards.
The award will also provide a platform for winning organisations to showcase their innovations and share information to enable others with an interest in improving healthcare to adapt and replicate successful interventions and create more positive change for children in their own country and beyond.
While good progress has been made in recent years, worldwide 6.9 million children every year still die before their fifth birthday. Often these children are in the most remote and marginalised communities and in order to bring life-saving healthcare to these hardest to reach children, ambitious new ideas and approaches are needed. 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.
Sir Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK said: “Often the best solutions to a particular challenge come from those living and working closest to it. We recognise this and we are committed to supporting those working in the world’s poorest countries to improve health outcomes. This award will identify the most effective ideas being put into practice in developing countries and, by providing much needed funding, will enable these innovations to be scaled-up to reduce childhood deaths and will inspire others in the process.”
Justin Forsyth, Chief Executive, Save the Children UK said: “We believe that we can be the generation to stop children dying from preventable causes – but this can only happen by working in partnership and finding new, innovative ways to get to the hardest to reach children. Through the GSK and Save the Children Healthcare Innovation Award, we can identify and support new and exciting examples of innovation from emerging and developing countries, in order to save more children’s lives.”
The impact of simple, low-cost innovations can be illustrated through the example of Kangaroo Mother Care which has been shown to reduce the number of babies dying in developing countries. Originally developed by Colombian paediatrician Edgar Rey, Kangaroo Mother Care is a simple technique which promotes early skin-to-skin contact between mothers and their premature and new-born babies. Mothers act as human incubators, keeping their babies warm and regulating their heartbeats. It is now used widely by Save the Children and many other organisations around the world.
The Healthcare Innovation Award is the first joint initiative to be announced following the launch of GSK and Save the Children’s ambitious new partnership in May this year, aiming to save the lives of 1 million children over the next five years. 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 will be 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.
Recognising that innovation can take many shapes and forms, the criteria for entry are broad and can include approaches that focus on any aspect of healthcare, including science, nutrition, research, education or partnership working.