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– Winners of $1 million award to support lifesaving innovations announced

–  First initiative to be delivered in partnership between GSK and Save the Children that aims to save a million children’s lives.


Issued: London UK

A simple low-cost device that helps newborn babies to breathe and has the potential to transform the life chances for thousands of African babies has been awarded the highest fund in the first GSK and Save the Children $1million Healthcare Innovation Award.

The life-saving kit, called a ‘bubble’ Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or ‘bCPAP’, is used to help babies in respiratory distress, which is often caused by acute respiratory infections like pneumonia. CPAP devices use air pressure to keep patients airways open, and as there are few wall-mounted air supplies in Malawi hospitals, the newly innovated bCPAP air pump works on its own. Plus it is made of durable materials that are inexpensive and easy to repair.  A similar version is already commonly used in developed countries where they cost at least $6,000 each. This innovative low-cost ‘bubble’ CPAP adaptation can be produced for approximately $400.

The organisation behind the innovation and recipients of a $400,000 share of the $1 million award is Friends of Sick Children, Malawi – a partnership between the paediatric department of Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi, Rice 360°: Institute for Global Health Technologies in the United States and the University of Malawi College of Medicine. The funding from the Healthcare Innovation Award, along with backing from the Ministry of Health in Malawi, will mean use of the device can be replicated and expanded to Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa.

A judging panel of experts from the fields of public health and development,  co-chaired by Sir Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK, and Justin Forsyth, Chief Executive of Save the Children,  were impressed with the bCPAP device’s impact on tackling newborn deaths, and the associated comprehensive training and education programme on premature child-care.  Newborn mortality rates continue to be a challenge in the developing world and in 2012, three million babies died in their first 28 days of life. 

The bCPAP device was one of five projects, from a long list of nearly 100 applications from 29 countries across the developing world, selected by the judging panel.

Sir Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK, said: “Through this initiative, we have seen a wealth of creativity and innovation to better serve children’s health needs in developing countries. I want to pay tribute to the ingenuity of all the organisations who applied for the award. 

“These remarkable projects show that significant numbers of lives can be saved and improved through grass-roots innovation. We hope our awards will help ‘spread the word’ on many of these innovations and encourage others to use and learn from them.”

Justin Forsyth, Chief Executive Save the Children, said: “Despite huge progress being made in under-five mortality in the past ten years, there hasn’t been the same progress made in the number of newborn babies dying in poor countries in the first 28 days of life. This is an area that needs urgent attention, so it is heartening that all five winning innovations from this award concentrate on the area of newborn care.  It is also inspiring to see countries finding solutions to their own challenges and partnering with other countries in the developing world to replicate and champion new innovations.”

The Friends of Sick Children, Malawi and the bCPAP team said:  “We are delighted to be the recipients of the first GSK-Save the Children Healthcare Innovation Award. The award money will help us to replicate and begin scaling up our programme across Africa and will make sure that we are reaching and saving even more children’s lives. To be recognised for the work that we do and to hopefully inspire others around the world is an honour.”

Four other organisations apportioned grants from the $1 million fund were:


  • BRAC, Bangladesh – $300,000 awarded for the ‘Manoshi’ programme, which delivers a comprehensive package of health services for women and children in the urban slums of Dhaka
  • MUSO, Mali – $100,000 awarded for focus on a community-level system designed to support the early identification of women and children in need of healthcare, before their symptoms escalate to a more serious condition
  • Microclinic Technologies, Kenya – $100,000 awarded for an innovative mobile health management system designed to improve the quality of maternal and child care by providing access to real-time data to improve health planning decisions 
  • Kangaroo Foundation, Colombia  (Fundacion Canguro)- $100,000 awarded in special recognition of their long-term Kangaroo Mother Care programme, which promotes early skin-to-skin contact between mothers and their premature and newborn babies.

The partnership between GSK and Save the Children aims to deliver a new model for corporate-charity working to help save the lives of a million children.

Notes to Editors

The GSK-Save the Children Healthcare Innovation Award judging panel (In alphabetical order)

  • Dr Abbas Bhuiya – Interim Executive Director of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, an international health research institution based in Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Joe Cerrell – Director of the Gates Foundation European Office and currently serving as a board member of the ONE Campaign and Comic Relief
  • Lord Nigel Crisp – Independent member of the House of Lords, working mainly on international development and global health. Lord Crisp was Chief Executive of the NHS 2000 – 2006
  • Professor Joy Lawn – Professor of Maternal, Reproductive and Child Health and Director of the MARCH Centre at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Professor Alejandro Madrigal – Originally from Mexico, Professor Madrigal is Scientific Director of Anthony Nolan and President of the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT)
  • Professor Oyewale Tomori – Professor of Virology and President of the Nigerian Academy of Science, Professor Tomori is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists of the United Kingdom and virology advisor to numerous World Health Organisation committees


Beneficiaries of the GSK-Save the Children Healthcare Innovation Award:


Friends of Sick Children, Malawi – $400,000

  • Friends of Sick Children, Malawi is a partnership between the Paediatric Department at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi, Rice University’s Rice 360°: Institute for Global Health Technologies, and University of Malawi College of Medicine.
  • Their ‘bubble’ Continuous Positive Airway Pressure ’bCPAP’ device is a low-cost adaptation of a device proven to help newborn babies with respiratory distress, designed specifically for low-resource settings.
  • This low-cost adaptation of traditional CPAP devices can be produced for around $400 – a 15-fold reduction from the average cost of devices currently used in developed countries.
  • bCPAP is being implemented in neonatal units across Malawi in partnership with the Ministry of Health. Award money will be used to support further expansion of the low-cost technology and associated training programmes to Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa.
  • This could prevent 178,000 early neonatal deaths per year on the African continent, where nearly one million babies die every year within a week of birth.
  • The project was recognised for its high-quality, affordable and replicable package of treatment services that focuses on the vital need to reduce pre-term and neonatal death, coupled with improving training and knowledge

BRAC, Bangladesh – $300,000.

BRAC’s ‘Manoshi’ programme delivers a comprehensive package of health services for women and children in the urban slums of Dhaka and consists of 3 key innovations:

  • Safe, clean delivery centres in slum areas, enabling women to give birth close to home, with a trained birth attendant who can quickly identify complications
  • Digital data collection – health workers conducting home visits are equipped with mobile phones which have the software to enable them to quickly and easily record vital patient information. As well as automatically assessing a patient’s risk and creating alerts for follow up care, information is automatically sent to relevant supervisors for review and feedback.
  • Award money will be used to pilot the programme in the slums of Freetown, Sierra Leone
  • Project was recognised for proven viability and impact, and potential to transform health for growing urban populations. It was considered the best holistic intervention programme and is a good example of a successful ‘south-to-south’ innovation

MUSO, Mali – $100,000

MUSO, Mali, implement a system designed to support the early identification of women and children in need of healthcare, before their symptoms escalate to a more serious condition. The system has 5 key components:

  • Door-to-door health visits conducted by Community Health Workers to proactively identify and refer women and children in need of care
  • Advocacy activities aimed at influencing Ministry partners to remove fees, a significant obstacle for accessing healthcare services
  • Building health centre capacity through providing equipment and training
  • Mobilising communities and training local leaders to identify those in need of care to ensure a rapid referral network in between health worker visits
  • Wider programmes in education, community organising and microenterprise to equip and empower communities with skills for the longer term
  • Award money will be used to create a Centre of Excellence aimed at promoting replication of this model across the region
  •  Project was recognised for focus on community-level involvement and demonstrating impact in a hard to serve area

Microclinic Technologies, Kenya – $100,000

  • ‘ZiDi™ is a mobile health management system designed to improve the quality of maternal and child care by providing access to real-time data to improve health planning decisions.  It tracks every drug or supply consumed, forecasts demand and automates ordering of essential medicines and supplies from the suppliers, notably, the Kenya Medical Supply Authority (KEMSA). This will prevent losses as well as protect consumers from counterfeit drugs.
  •  ZiDi™ was successfully piloted in Kisumu County, Kenya and has been adopted by the Ministry of Health for use in over 5,000 health facilities in Kenya, starting in 2014.
  •  ZiDi™ was recognised for its innovative and bold m-health approach that promises to increase efficiency and improve decision making in facilities that serve the bottom of the pyramid.
  • Award money will be used to further the clinical logic of the system with an enhanced version slated for roll-out to larger health facilities.

Kangaroo Foundation (Fundacion Canguro), Colombia – $100,000

  • Kangaroo Mother Care is a simple technique which promotes early skin-to-skin contact between mothers and their premature and newborn babies. Mothers act as human incubators, keeping their babies warm and regulating their heartbeats.
  • Chosen as a special recognition award for the organisation’s role in the research, development and promotion of Kangaroo Mother Care, a proven model which has had a positive impact on reducing mortality rates for new-born, premature and low birth weight babies, and which can be easily replicated.

GSK – one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.  For further information please visit

Save the Children – works in more than 120 countries. We save children’s lives. We fight for their rights. We help them fulfil their potential.  

About the GSK and Save the Children partnership

GSK and Save the Children have formed an ambitious long-term strategic global partnership combining their expertise, resources and influence to help save the lives of one million children. The new partnership is ambitious and innovative, and goes well beyond the traditional charity corporate fundraising model. The partnership will touch many areas of GSK’s business, in particular using its R&D potential to save children’s lives. Through this partnership GSK and Save the Children will focus on:

  • Developing child-friendly medicines to reduce child mortality and new-born deaths
  • Widening vaccination coverage to reduce the number of child deaths in the hardest to reach communities
  • Researching new affordable nutritional products to address the needs of children to help alleviate malnutrition
  • Increasing investment in the training, reach and scope of health workers in the poorest communities to help reduce child mortality


About the Healthcare Innovation Award
The GSK and Save the Children $1 million Healthcare Innovation Award fund was set up to identify and reward innovations in healthcare that have proven to be successful in reducing child deaths in developing countries.


Organisations from across the developing world were invited to nominate examples of innovative healthcare approaches they have discovered or implemented. These approaches were required to have resulted in tangible improvements to under-5 child survival rates, be sustainable, and have the potential to be scaled-up and replicated.

GSK enquiries:




UK Media enquiries:

David Mawdsley

+44 (0) 20 8047 5502



Simon Steel

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David Daley

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Catherine Hartley

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US Media enquiries: 

Stephen Rea

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Melinda Stubbee

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(North Carolina)


Mary Anne Rhyne

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(North Carolina)


Sarah Alspach

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(Washington, DC)


Jennifer Armstrong

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Analyst/Investor enquiries:

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Kirsty Collins (SRI & CG)

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Tom Curry

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Gary Davies

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James Dodwell

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Jeff McLaughlin

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Ziba Shamsi

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Lucy Singah

+44 (0) 20 8047 2248



Save the Children:




UK Media enquiries:

Emily Sharman

+44 (0) 207 012 6757



Cautionary statement regarding forward-looking statements
GSK cautions investors that any forward-looking statements or projections made by GSK, including those made in this announcement, are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Factors that may affect GSK’ s operations are described under Item 3.D ‘Risk factors’ in the company’s Annual Report on Form 20-F for 2012.

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