Local groups lead the way to better child healthcare in Africa


Incentivising this development is a global partnership between global healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and international charity, Save the Children, who have launched its second annual Healthcare Innovation Awards, providing one million US dollars to organisations that deliver the most innovative ideas to help shape national health agendas for children in Africa.

(READ MORE: The changing face of Africa’s healthcare sector)

In 2013, five groups in developing countries had won cash rewards of up to 100,000 US dollars each.


The top prize winner last year was Malawian based Friends of Sick Children (FOSC) who developed a low cost Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) kit that helps premature and new-born babies suffering from distress breathe more easily.

(READ MORE: The challenges of investing in healthcare in Sub-Saharan Africa)

The CPAP technology, currently being shared across hospitals in Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa, has the potential to save 178,000 African children each year if implemented continent-wide.   

Another winner was Kenyan based MicroClinic Technologies who was awarded for its ZiDi programme, a mobile health management system used to improve medicine supply and service quality for child healthcare, which was adopted by the Kenyan Ministry of Health.   

Muso, a community led organisation in Mali that tackles poverty issues related to child mortality also received a cash prize.

Muso, which has been invited by the Mali Ministry of Health to help draft the country’s five-year strategic plan to scale up healthcare delivery, said that the award money is currently being used to help reach 77,000 people across the region.  

“The success stories we’re hearing from last year’s winners, just six months since receiving their funding, are truly inspiring and we want to help replicate this success. When it comes to improving access to quality healthcare, no single organisation has all the answers and we need to continuously look for new and different ideas, wherever they might be,” said Ramil Burden, vice president of GSK’s Africa and developing countries division.

(READ MORE: GSK to invest 130 million pounds in Africa’s healthcare space)

GSK added that the previous innovations recognised by the awards were being implemented across borders through collaboration.

Dr Sam Agbo, head of health for Save the Children added that this year the partnership will be looking specifically for innovations that improve the health of new-born babies.

“Every year, almost three million babies die during their first month of life. But many of these deaths are preventable with the right resources and care in place. We must find different approaches, informed by first-hand experience, to address this issue,”

“This Award provides a platform for working in collaboration, which will ultimately help to save the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable children.”