GSK and Save the Children have launched their fourth annual $1 million Healthcare Innovation Award, which rewards innovations in healthcare that help to reduce child mortality in developing countries.
GSK is one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.
In Rwanda, children born into the poorest 20% of urban households are almost 5 times as likely to die by the age of 5 than children in the richest 20%.This year, until 7 September, organizations from across the country can nominate innovative healthcare approaches they have implemented.
Whilst the child survival gap in Rwanda has been reduced in recent years, new healthcare innovations are needed to continue to save the lives of vulnerable babies and their mothers.
Award entries must have resulted in tangible improvements to under-5 child survival, be sustainable and have the scope to be scaled-up and replicated.
The Award is one of a number of initiatives from GSK and Save the Children’s five-year partnership, which combines the two organizations’ expertise and skills with the aim to help save one million children’s lives.
Since 2013, more than a dozen inventive approaches – from a breast milk pasteurization device to an affordable diarrhea treatment kit have been recognized through the Award. This year, as well as recognizing approaches that have helped reduce child deaths, the Award will give special attention to innovations that focus on the hardest-to-reach children.
Talking on the award Sam Mbowa, Country Manager for GSK in Rwanda and Uganda said: “When it comes to reaching the most vulnerable Rwandan children with quality healthcare, no single organization has all the answers. So we’re always searching for new and different ideas, wherever they might be. Our Award recognizes that some of the best solutions to development challenges come from people living with them. Tough conditions can stimulate innovation, generating solutions that are relevant and adaptable. If these bright ideas can be shared across countries and continents, the impact could be profound.”
Outlining the focus of this year’s Award, Ali Forder, Director of Programme, Policy and Quality at Save the Children added: “Extraordinary progress has been made in recent years to reduce the number of children dying before their fifth birthday. Despite this progress, more than five million children still die each year and millions of children are being left behind because of their gender, poverty, or ethnic identity; because they live in remote areas or urban slums; or because they are caught up in conflicts. We want to seek out and recognize ways in which these children can be reached.”
In 2013, a device that eases the breathing of babies in respiratory distress was awarded the highest share of the Healthcare Innovation Award prize fund. It was developed by the College of Medicine/Friends of Sick Children, Malawi and Rice 360°: Institute for Global Health Technologies.
Commenting on the impact of the Award, Professor Elizabeth Molyneux, professor of pediatrics at the College of Medicine and Queen Elizabeth Central Teaching Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi, said: “It was exciting to win the Award, which has allowed us to provide technology and training in teaching hospitals in Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa. Funding from GSK and others shows confidence in what we are offering and gives us a chance to share with people who will benefit from it.”
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.
Further details on the judging process and criteria can be found online at www.healthcareinnovationaward.org
Entries close on 7 September 2016 at 11:59pm (GMT). Winners are expected to be announced in December.