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 deaths in developing countries and have the potential to reach even more children.
In Ghana in 2013, approximately seven in one hundred children died before their fifth birthday and there is a distinct survival gap between children from wealthy and disadvantaged families – children born into the poorest 20% of urban households are three times as likely to die by the age of five as children in the richest 20%.
This year, until 7 September, organisations from across the country can nominate innovative healthcare approaches they have implemented. These innovations 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 organisations’ 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 pasteurisation device to an affordable diarrhoea treatment kit – have been recognised through the Award. This year, as well as recognising approaches that have helped reduce child deaths, the Award will give special attention to innovations that focus on the hardest-to-reach children.
Mark Pfister, General Manager for GSK in Ghana, said: “When it comes to reaching the most vulnerable Ghanaian children with quality healthcare, no single organisation has all the answers. So we’re always searching for new and different ideas, wherever they might be. Our Award recognises 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 recognise 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