GSK (GlaxoSmithKline Plc) - GSK-Save the Children partnership

Good for society
  • The GSK-Save the Children partnership has reached 1.3 million children in 37 countries with lifesaving interventions.
  • One example of innovation that has come from this programme is the reformulation of an antiseptic ingredient in a GSK mouthwash to a gel to clean umbilical cords. It can be administered by community health workers and is a cost effective intervention for neonatal sepsis, a major cause of death in newborns around the world.
The Unilever Global Development Award, supported by Business Fights Poverty, Finalist, 2016

GSK and Save the Children have reached 1.3 million children across 37 countries with lifesaving medical interventions since the launch of their global partnership in 2013.Working as equal partners, the collaboration is bringing both organisations new insights and opportunities for innovation.


Every year, 5.9 million children under the age of five die from preventable diseases, due to the fact that they don’t receive the essential healthcare they need. In 2013, GSK and Save the Children formed a five-year partnership to help save the lives of one million children. Halfway through they are on track to reach this target. This groundbreaking partnership has leveraged Save the Children’s global reach and on-the-ground experience, with GSK’s scientific innovation, resources and expertise.

GSK and Save the Children are helping to reduce preventable child deaths by:

  • Researching and developing new child-friendly medicines;

  • Widening vaccination coverage to the hardest to reach children and families;

  • Increasing investment in health workers in the poorest communities;

  • Helping children affected by humanitarian crises;

  • Working with Ministries of Health to help improve supply of vital medicines and vaccines;

  • Advocating jointly at local and global levels for stronger child health policies;

 Now three years in to the partnership GSK and Save the Children have already made a substantial impact on the lives of young people:

  • 125,691 children under five have been treated for cases of pneumonia, malaria and diarrhoea;

  • 1,049,350 children have been screened for malnutrition and given nutritional support;

  • 1,631,332 people have been directly provided with healthcare;

  • 23,926 children under five have been fully immunised;

Additionally the partnership is supporting the local development of skills and training as well as providing medical equipment. This enables the communities to be more self-sufficient in the future. To date:

  • 2,049 civil society members have been trained or engaged in the programme;

  • 9,084 community health workers have been trained and 4,202 community health workers have been equipped;

  • 1,613 professional health workers have been trained;

Strong partnership

The partnership has brought GSK insights into markets and business models needed to build better access to healthcare in low income settings. It has also supported both organisations' aims to develop new paediatric medicines for the base of the pyramid. Joint advocacy work has helped both parties to build new and strengthen existing relationships with governments, NGOs and other businesses. Working collaboratively the two organisations have been able to align with local communities and governments to deliver their plans.

The partnership is embedded in both organisations; both companies have learnt, and continue to learn, from each other’s culture and practices, sharing their knowledge and expertise.

Engaged employees

GSK employees have been a critical part of this partnership, with 110,000 employees involved in fundraising, awareness raising, and advocacy for the programme and the issues it addresses. Together, employees have raised over £1.75 million, and 96% of employees surveyed agreed that the partnership “Makes me feel proud to work for GSK”.

What GSK's CEO said:

“A partnership of this scale gives us an opportunity to do something amazing – to save the lives of one million children and to transform the lives of millions more. At GSK we are motivated by developing innovative life-saving medicines and getting them to the people that need them. By joining forces with Save the Children, we can amplify these efforts to create a new momentum for change and stop children dying from preventable diseases. I hope this partnership inspires GSK employees and sets a new standard for how companies and NGOs can work together towards a shared goal.”  - Sir Andrew Witty, GSK CEO


Good for business
  • GSK's partnership with Save the Children has offered it insights into markets and business models to build better access to healthcare and understand the needs of emerging markets, especially in the most difficult to access communities.
  • Joint advocacy work with Save the Children has helped both parties to build new and strengthen existing relationships with governments, NGOs and other businesses.
  • Employees who have volunteered for the programme in the field have returned to GSK inspired, energised, and more thoughtful about the realities of the patient and developing solutions more relevant to low resource settings.
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