GSK Invests in Global Health Initiatives in Africa
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced it will support the training of more than 9,000 health workers in Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria over the next three years. The move is part of the company’s strategy, announced in March 2014 ,to increase access to healthcare and deliver long-term economic growth across Africa by stimulating research, increasing capacity in local medicine supply, and strengthening healthcare infrastructure.
In collaboration with three non-governmental organizations, Amref Health Africa, the One Million Community Health Workers (1mCHW) Campaign, and Save the Children, GSK will invest Â£5.85 million ($9.00 million) in supporting training of health workers. The programs will aim to strengthen health systems by enabling staff to manage the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases, as well as to combat infectious illnesses and improve maternal and child health. Alongside training, GSK's investment is designed to support community health education and advocacy to help ensure the programs have a long-term, sustainable impact.
The new initiatives build on GSK's existing programs to support training of frontline health workers in the least developed countries. Since 2009, GSK and its partners have supported the training of 25,000 health workers, reaching 6.5 million people.
Over the next three years, GSK will support Amref Health Africa's work to manage diabetes and childhood asthma in Kenya through supporting the training of 2,500 health workers. Non-communicable diseases are estimated to account for half of all hospital admissions in Nairobi, with diabetes alone contributing to more than one quarter of these admissions. Diabetes is increasingly affecting younger people in Kenya. One in 10 children aged 10-14 in Kenya is reported to be asthmatic.Amref Health Africa's training will be targeted to health workers, including nurses and nutritionists, who manage diabetes and childhood asthma in healthcare and community facilities. Community health volunteers will be trained in early detection and diagnosis as well as basic management of these conditions.
Investment from GSK will enable the 1mCHW Campaign to support training of 1,800 health workers in Ghana, with an ambition to drive the training of thousands more health workers in subsequent years. The initial programis anticipated to reach almost one million people. Working with the Ghanaian government, the 1mCHW Campaign, a project of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, intends to pilot an approach whereby community health workers receive substantial training and ongoing supervision.
Over three years, GSK will support Save the Children's efforts to improve access to lifesaving, quality healthcare for mothers, newborn babies and children by building the capacity of 5,000 frontline health workers across three Nigerian states. It is anticipated that these initiatives will help reach more than 400,000 children under five and their mothers. Nigeria accounts for nearly one-quarter of Africa's maternal and newborn deaths. One out of every eight children in Nigeria will not reach the age of five, often as a result of common, preventable diseases such as malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea. Save the Children is supporting government efforts to increase access to skilled health workers. GSK's investment will allow Save the Children to build on these initiatives by training frontline health workers on managing childhood diseases and educating mothers on disease prevention and practices to ensure early detection and treatment of common illnesses.