Save the Children partnership

How we’re working with Save the Children to save one million children’s lives

Every day 15,000 children under the age of five die - most from preventable causes. We’re working together with Save the Children to change that.

Our pioneering and powerful partnership with Save the Children has now been extended to 2022.  We continue to work together combining GSK’s scientific and manufacturing expertise with Save the Children’s on-the-ground experience to find new ways to help bring down the number of children dying from preventable and treatable diseases.

Mouthwash to medicine

Find out how our scientists have adapted an ingredient from a GSK mouthwash into a potentially life-saving gel for newborns in developing countries, in partnership with Save the Children.

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Almost 6 million children under the age of five die every year from preventable causes. Since 2000, significant progress has been made globally to reduce the rate of child deaths, however more needs to be done to prevent children dying unnecessarily.

Local mother Sylvia with her baby Brivian meet members of the partnership team in Bungoma County, Kenya. Photo: Ilan Godfrey/Save the Children

Making a change

In 2013 we embarked on an ambitious global partnership with Save the Children 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.

  • 5.9 million

    children under 5 died in 2015 from preventable diseases

The partnership goes well beyond the traditional charity corporate fundraising model. We are combining our capabilities in R&D, supply chain, procurement and vaccines with Save the Children’s expertise working with the most vulnerable children.

Specifically, the GSK and Save the Children partnership focuses on:

  • improving access to basic healthcare – prevention and treatment – where the need is greatest
  • training and equipping health workers in the poorest communities
  • developing child-friendly medicines
  • working at local and global levels to call for stronger child health policies

Since launching our partnership, we have reached over 2.95 million children in 46 countries. Over 118,000 children under-five have been fully immunised and over 258,000 children have been treated for diarrhoea, malaria or pneumonia.

Our chlorhexidine gel, formulated from the simple antiseptic commonly used in mouthwash, has been used to treat the umbilical cords of over 30,000 newborns in Kenya and protect the babies from potentially life-threatening infection.

Baby Exodus is treated for malaria at Save the Children’s EHU (Emergency Health Unit) in Uganda. Photo: Guilhem Alandry / Save the Children

Hear some of the stories of how our partnership with Save the Children has impacted children and their families around the world.

Kyaut Shin Thant, a baby in a sleeping basket
Photo: Jordi Ruiz Cirera / Save the Children

Two-month-old Kyaut Shin Thant lies on her bed in Kani Township, Myanmar.

Her mum, Thin Thin Wai, 25, received emergency referral support from Save the Children including funds for transportation and meals during her stay at the hospital for the delivery of her baby. She also received prenatal and postnatal care by the midwife who has been supported by Save the Children’s programme, funded through GSK’s 20% Reinvestment Initiative.

Helen, a child in the Early Childhood Development Centre
Photo: Save the Children

Helen (2 years old) in an Early Childhood Development Centre supported by GSK in Quito, Ecuador.

Helen spends most of her time in the centre, as her parents work far away from where they live. Her mother, Sonia, works at a fast food restaurant, one-and-a-half hours away, and her father, Victor, works as a bus driver for a school in one of Quito's neighbouring valleys.

Hassan, a patient in Syria.
Photo: Nour Wahid/Save the Children

5-year-old Hassan* fled Syria 3 years ago wakes up every morning excited to attend classes organised by the education team at Save the Children Lebanon in the Bekaa Valley, in the east of Lebanon.

The programmes prepare children between the age of 3 and 6 for school and includes activities such as writing, reading and painting.

GSK and GSK employees supported Save the Children’s response to the European Refugee Crisis since 2015. We have provided services such as Mother and Baby Corners in the Balkans, essential health and child protection interventions in Syria and surrounding countries such as Lebanon, as well as Child Friendly Spaces giving children a safe place to play and to receive the support they need.

* Real name has been replaced to preserve the child’s privacy

Suriya, a child receiving his yellow fever vaccine in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Photo: Tommy Trenchard/Save the Children

One-year-old Suriya waits to receive his yellow fever vaccine after a deadly outbreak of the disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Suriya is from the country’s capital, Kinshasa, where 7 million of the city’s 10 million inhabitants are thought not to be vaccinated. Immunisation is one of the most successful and cost-effective health interventions. It can help give every child a chance of survival.

Between 1990 and 2015 improvements in immunisation coverage contributed to an over 50% drop in child deaths globally. However, 18.7 million children worldwide still miss out. So, as well as supporting emergency vaccination programmes like this one in DRC, the GSK and Save the Children partnership is using its joint voice to call for vaccines for every last child.

Oliver James, a patient in West Yorkshire
Photo: Elizabeth Dalziel/Save the Children

15 month old Oliver-James, his mum Vicky and dad Simon are a family on the cusp of poverty in West Yorkshire. 

Living on a low income is tough and they struggle with bills. When the family’s fridge freezer broke down, they couldn't afford to replace it until they got a grant from Save the Children’s Eat Sleep Learn Play programme, supported by GSK employees in the UK. 

Vicky says: "I don't think of us as destitute but we don't have enough money and when things go wrong we rely on friends and family, or help like Save the Children. We would have really not managed without a fridge. I'm so relieved that Oliver-James hasn't missed out because we can't afford to keep food fresh."

Trek for Kids, saving one million children lives

In February 2019, 40 GSK employees from 25 countries around the world took part in Trek for Kids, trekking through the challenging Simien Mountains in Ethiopia and raising over £275,000 for Save the Children.

  • £550,000

    donated to Save the Children thanks to Trek for Kids

The trekkers exceeded their joint fundraising target through a variety of activities from cake sales to sponsored runs. The total raised will also be matched by GSK, meaning that Save the Children will receive a total of £550,000 as a direct result of the efforts of the GSK trekkers and their supporters. The money will be used to extend the partnership’s vaccination programme in the Somali region of Ethiopia.

Trekkers
Trekkers

During their time in Ethiopia, the trekkers visited a Save the Children programme and learnt more about how GSK and their fundraising is supporting vaccination in the country.  So far over 12,000 women and children have received essential vaccinations.  

The programme has also supported community health volunteers who have reached 17,100 community members with health education on vaccinations, through house-to-house visits.

Trek for Kids adults and baby
Volunteers and a baby

The partnership is already delivering measurable results. By June 2019 the global partnership had directly reached over 2.95 million children through a number of interventions.

These include researching and developing innovative child-friendly medicines, widening vaccination coverage in the hardest-to-reach communities, increasing investment in the training, reach and scope of health workers and helping children affected by disasters or humanitarian crisis.

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