• Best practices
  • Best practice: Extensive initiative to improve child healthc...
Best practice

Extensive initiative to improve child healthcare




A wide range of projects through a global partnership with Save the Children, to help one million children access needed medicine.




To reduce the number of childhood deaths from preventable diseases in the world’s poorest countries.


Worldwide, nearly six million children under five die each year from preventable causes.

Worldwide, nearly six million children under five die each year from treatable causes. In 2013, GSK partnered with Save the Children in a long-term, strategic initiative aiming to help save one million children’s lives. By combining their expertise and experience, the partners aim to reduce the number of deaths from treatable diseases in the world’s poorest countries.

Initially, GSK and Save the Children committed to collaborate for five years. They have now agreed to continue the initiative for a further five years, until the end of 2023.

How does the initiative improve child healthcare?
The initiative consists of a wide range of projects, with GSK contributing by developing medicines and vaccines among other activities. Beyond the value chain (the range of activities bringing a product from conception to consumer), the partnership is also involved in numerous projects to strengthen health systems. Many of these focus on training healthcare workers and improving coverage for vaccines.

The GSK-Save the Children partnership trains healthcare workers to improve child vaccination. ©Andre Malerba, Save the Children

What makes this a best practice?
This initiative represents best practice in strengthening health systems. It meets all standards of good practice, and is also making efforts to measure and understand the impact of the partnership’s activities toward reaching their goal of reducing preventable childhood deaths.

As they implement projects, GSK and Save the Children work with local health systems to ensure they align their efforts with local needs and national priorities. For many projects, the main partners use local partners to conduct baseline assessments and surveys. This enables them to identify gaps and see opportunities to build capacity. The partnership operates through five different work streams and is governed by a steering committee. The partnership takes risk of conflict of interest seriously and includes it as a standing item of steering committee meetings. There is also strong contractual language aimed at further reducing the risks of conflict of interest with GSK’s commercial business.

The partnership strives to make long-term impacts and create solutions that are sustainable. One approach is to advocate for change in tandem with projects that create change. Other projects include training health workers and developing programmes in collaboration with local government.
The activities of the partnership are guided by the clear goal to help save the lives of one million children. This is further supported by core objectives and five key hoped-for impacts.

Stands out for efforts to measure impact
Notably, the impact is measured through a logical framework matrix (“log frame”) based on a theory of change developed for the purpose. Save the Children’s in-house team supports the initiative’s monitoring and evaluation. It is not yet clear how GSK plans to publicly disseminate results from its measurement of impact.

Learn more

View our detailed overview of each company’s performance in the Index, including breakdowns of their product portfolios and R&D pipelines.

Back to top |