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GSK, Save the Children call for innovations

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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 to 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, says: “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, says: “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.