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Helping to save one million children's lives

In 2013, we formed an ambitious and strategic global partnership with GSK. Using our combined expertise, resources and influence we aim to help save one million children's lives.

GSK and Save the Children 'Helping to save one million children' logo


We have an innovative and strategic partnership with GSK that is combining the two organisations’ global expertise, skills and energy to tackle the ambitious goal of helping to save one million children’s lives.

Together we are finding new ways to help reduce child mortality. For three years running, our partnership was voted as the “most admired” corporate partnership in the C&E Barometer’s survey of businesses and NGOs.

Significant progress has been made globally in reducing the rate of child deaths, however more needs to be done to speed up this reduction and to prevent children dying unnecessarily.

Our partnership is ambitious, and goes well beyond the traditional charity corporate fundraising model. At GSK, the partnership touches almost all areas of the business, using expertise in R&D, immunisation, and supply chain logistics to help save children’s lives.

Our local presence and expertise in child survival helps provide a specific perspective on child mortality to help the partnership reach some of the most vulnerable children with life-saving interventions.

Our partnership mission of helping to save the lives of one million children, by tackling preventable under five mortality, aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals - specifically under Goal 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing).

With the large global footprint of both GSK and Save the Children, the partnership intends to scale up and replicate its successes for the benefit of communities most in need. To date, we have directly reached 2.8 million children in 45 countries. 

Together we are:

  • Researching and developing innovative child-friendly medicines to reduce child and infant deaths
  • Widening vaccination coverage to reduce the number of child deaths in the hardest to reach communities
  • Increasing investment in the training, reach and scope of health workers in the poorest communities to help reduce the number of children dying from preventable diseases
  • Helping children affected by disasters or humanitarian crises
  • Advocating at local and global levels for stronger child health policies

Responding to Disasters and Humanitarian Crises

During 2015, the global partnership created a step change in the speed at which we respond and help our emergency response to crises throughout the world.

An example of this the Emergency Health Unit, formed by Save the Children and seed funded by GSK, which is getting help to wherever it’s needed. Within just 72 hours a team of specialist health workers can be on the ground delivering basic healthcare to save children’s lives.

Research and Development Success

Innovation is at the heart of the partnership demonstrated by the commitment to the research and development of medicines to help save the lives of mothers and babies in developing countries.

The research and development work conducted by the partnership has developed a new gel in a sachet which is a formulation of chlorhexidine (CHX), an antiseptic commonly used in mouthwash, for the prevention of neonatal sepsis - a bacterial blood stream infection that kills 400,000 newborns a year.

CHX is listed as one of the WHO’s Essential Medicines and prior to the partnership, GSK had begun to explore its reformulation to help with umbilical cord care and prevent infection.

Once the two organisations started working together, we were able to harness in-country expertise and insights gained from research to advise on how this new formulation could be made accessible to mothers and babies in the hardest to reach areas. So far, over 30,000 newborns in Bungoma County, Kenya, have had access to the new chlorhexidine gel.

GSK has committed to making details of the new formulation and quality specifications available to other manufactures, in addition to making the medicine available on a ‘not-for-profit’ pricing basis.

Putting in place sustainable solutions is a cornerstone of the partnership’s vision and this breakthrough will create transformative improvements in healthcare for mothers and babies.

Staff from GSK and Save the Children visit a local community and community health workers during a field visit in Kenya.

Staff from GSK and Save the Children visit a local community and community health workers during a field visit in Kenya.

Employee Engagement

GSK employees are contributing their time, expertise and enthusiasm to support the partnership through volunteering and fundraising. GSK’s internal employee engagement programme is called Orange United and this is the only partnership GSK promotes to its employees globally. 

Since the start of the partnership in 2013, through the GSK PULSE scheme (a skills-based volunteering initiative), over 100 GSK employees have worked with us, bringing their skills to specific challenges we’ve faced as an organisation.

Health workers

Health workers are a key focus for many of our programmes, including in the 14 countries where we currently implements the 20% Reinvestment Initiative (a commitment from GSK where 20% of the profits made in least developed countries are reinvested in programmes to strengthen healthcare).

The programme concentrates on training new health workers, building the capacity of countries to deliver better health services and creating demand for healthcare. Through the partnership, over 20,000 healthcare workers have been trained. Integral to ensuring the sustainability of this work, national advocacy is also one of the main interventions of the health worker programmes.

In addition to these programmes through the initiative, we continue to support health workers in a number of other countries including Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire and South Africa, and over 12,000 community healthcare workers have been supported to date. 


From the start, advocacy has been a core focus for the partnership. We work together towards ensuring children’s survival and health are priorities for governments and decision-makers at global, national and local levels, as well as for other influential players within the pharmaceutical industry and wider development sector.

The advocacy work conducted by the partnership exemplifies one of its underlying principles – the understanding that GSK and Save the Children can achieve more for children together than they can separately.

Signature Programmes

Our world class Signature Programmes aim to demonstrate every element of Save the Children’s Theory of Change to directly benefit children through high quality programmes, developing innovative ways of having the most impact, and changing the policies and practices of others.

The partnership supports critical health interventions within two Signature Programmes, one in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the second in Kenya. These programmes have helped over 280,000 childen so far.

In DRC, we are working with the government and communities to deliver an integrated package of essential services for newborn, maternal and child health which includes strengthening current systems and ensuring that basic health and nutrition services as well as access to healthcare is easily available. 

In Kenya, the goal of the programme is to reduce maternal and newborn mortality by 21% in Bungoma County by increasing access to, and improving quality health systems and services in order to reduce preventable diseases

Page updated January 2022.

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