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10 years in partnership

Working together towards a world where no child suffers from a vaccine preventable disease and every child’s health is protected.

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We've been working in partnership with GSK since 2013, and after 10 years, we have renewed our partnership commitment to help protect the health of children, with a focus on Nigeria and Ethiopia.

‘Zero dose’ children – those who have never had any routine vaccination – are the most likely to contract diseases like polio, measles and cholera. As vaccination rates drop, these preventable diseases are appearing in places where they haven’t been seen for decades, and can be life-threatening. Nowhere has this been felt more starkly than in Africa. The continent has the highest number of zero dose children in the world – 8.7 million. More than a third live in Nigeria and Ethiopia alone.

Over the next five years and with a new £15 million investment, GSK and Save the Children’s goal is to significantly increase the number of children receiving vaccinations in the areas where we’ll be working in Ethiopia and Nigeria. We will use our combined expertise and 10 years of experience working together to develop pilot and implement tailored approaches to reach zero dose children in diverse settings.

By working with communities, governments and partner organisations, and by sharing our findings on what works, we aim to make sure our solutions can be used by others and incorporated into national policy. And our robust research will help us advocate for more children around the world to receive vaccinations, so they stay healthy, happy and thriving.

Led by communities and working with local health centres, government and other partners we’re aiming to develop, pilot and implement effective approaches to:

  • Improve the quality of vaccination services, making sure they can keep running even in a crisis – whether that’s training local health workers, or providing solar refrigerators to keep vaccines cold on the journey to health centres and communities
  • Make sure vaccination services are more inclusive and can be accessed by all children – using data to track which communities might be missing out on vaccines and helping to reduce the time families spend travelling to get their children’s vaccines
  • Work with ‘missed communities’ – where there are many zero dose children – to raise awareness of the importance of vaccinations and debunk misinformation, to encourage more families to take up the immunisations on offer
  • Collaborate with government, community groups and national and global NGOs, for more coordinated, comprehensive and effective vaccination campaigns.
Healthworker Nura Ibrahim administers a vaccine to 22-day-old Rukkaya outside his home in Jigawa State, Nigeria

Healthworker Nura Ibrahim administers a vaccine to 22-day-old Rukkaya outside his home in Jigawa State, Nigeria

For families living amid the desert-like landscape of Nigeria’s Jigawa state, life can be incredibly tough. Sahura struggles to feed her family and there often isn’t enough food to go round. “I feel bad because I don’t have enough to give them. The only food I give them is that which I plant like guinea corn and rice”, she says.

The community where Sahura lives doesn’t have a health centre and in the rainy season it is completely cut off, making it difficult for them to reach any health services at all.

But Save the Children and GSK mobile immunisation teams have the ingenuity and determination to reach families like Sahura’s – providing them with a defence against deadly childhood diseases. They travel on motorbike and by foot, cold boxes in hand, setting up mobile vaccination centres or going door-to-door to give children the vaccines they need.

Sahura understands the importance of this work: “Early immunisation helps children, that is why we give it to our children.”  She made sure her baby Rukayya was vaccinated outside the front of her home, one of about 30 children who received their vaccines that day.

10 years of partnership

In 2013, the we fostered an innovative, strategic, shared value partnership which combined our global expertise, skills and energy to reduce preventable deaths and illness of children under five.

GSK have supported Save the Children’s health programmes globally, including through GSK’s 20% Reinvestment Initiative, where 20% of the profits made in least developed countries (LDCs) were reinvested in programmes to strengthen healthcare. In addition, GSK have supported Save the Children’s malaria prevention work in Kenya. 

GSK demonstrate a clear commitment to strengthening access to healthcare around the world and focus on sharing their scientific expertise with external partners to tackle the healthcare needs of people globally. By continuing to work collaboratively there is the opportunity to further build on our commitments and take even greater steps to overcome some of the most frequent barriers to accessing healthcare in some of the world’s poorest communities. 

Together we have:

  • Supported more than 3.5 million children across 51 countries 
  • Trained 38,000 health workers and supported 21,000 community health workers 
  • Immunised more than 240,000 children under five against preventable diseases  
  • Treated more than 807,000 cases of children for malaria, pneumonia or diarrhoea  
  • Raised £5.6 million through GSK employees in over 70 countries.
  • Support for the Green Climate Fund and an Anticipatory Action to prepare for and lessen the impact of climate-related disasters.

Since we partnered in 2013, GSK and GSK employees have raised nearly £6 million for our emergency and humanitarian work globally. This includes extensively supporting our Emergency Fund, our Emergency Health Unit, and over 8 emergency appeals, including the Indonesian Tsunami in 2018, East African cyclones in 2019, COVID pandemic, conflict in Ukrane and the current hunger crisis. 

Since 2015 GSK has also supported our Emergency Health Unit (EHU), which delivers rapid, high quality public health interventions for children and their families affected by catastrophic natural disasters, violent conflicts and fast-spreading disease outbreaks. In this time, the EHU has reached over four million people in over 40 different emergencies which resulted in a tripling of Save the Children’s overall humanitarian health and nutrition programming between 2016 and 2020. 

Esther's 20-month-old daughter Susan is screened for malnutrition in Turkana, Kenya.

Esther's 20-month-old daughter Susan is screened for malnutrition in Turkana, Kenya. Drought and economic insecurity are contributing to a growing hunger crisis in much of East Africa.

The power of this partnership is driven by the commitment of GSK employees globally who are inspired to fundraise and volunteer. Since 2013 GSK employees have raised over £5 million to support more than 3.4 million children in 49 low and middle income countries.

Every penny was matched by GSK, helping to fund vital projects focusing on helping to get children access to vital healthcare wherever they live in the world.

GSK also recognises the incredible value there is in employees donating their time. Over the last 10 years over 100 GSK employees have completed secondments with Save the Children, and 2023 saw the launch of their new volunteering scheme which will enable all staff to take on volunteering opportunities with Save the Children. 

The annual Orange United Week is celebrated by GSK employees across the world by fundraising and raising awareness of Save the Children and the partnership.

The annual Orange United Week is celebrated by GSK employees across the world by fundraising and raising awareness of Save the Children and the partnership.

Read more about the partnership here: gsk-savethechildren.com

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