Four innovations win Healthcare Innovation Awards from GSK and Save the Children

Healthcare Innovation Award (HIA) is a major initiative within five-year partnership to help save one million children’s lives

Austin Clark | 6th Jun 17

Four health organisations from developing countries have today been recognised by GSK and Save the Children for innovations that reduce deaths in children under five.

With more than five million children dying each year before their fifth birthdays, and many more lacking access to basic healthcare, the fourth annual Healthcare Innovation Award has a special focus on innovations providing healthcare for the hardest-to-reach mothers and children.

Selected from 171 submissions from 30 countries by a judging panel comprising health experts from across the globe, the winners are:

  • Association for Humanitarian Development (AHD) in Pakistanfor their inexpensive and versatile water filter unit, which won the largest share of the Award
  • Sinergias in Colombia, the Hardest-to-Reach award winner for a cross-cultural healthcare delivery model for indigenous populations in the Amazon region
  • ARMMAN in India for their free mobile voice call service providing preventative care information to mothers
  • Alma Sana in Nigeriafor their simple, low-cost bracelet to stimulate parents’ uptake and demand for children’s immunisations in Nigeria.

The award is a major initiative of GSK and Save the Children’s five-year partnership, combining the resources, voice and expertise of the two organisations to help save one million children’s lives. The purpose of the award is to identify innovations that are making a tangible difference to children’s health, and enable organisations to share and replicate their approach. Since 2013, 17 inventive approaches have been recognised.

Ali Forder, Director of Programme Quality & Impact, Save the Children UK added: “The Healthcare Innovation Award was specifically designed with the understanding that those closest to a complex problem are best placed to design solutions to solve them. These innovations are already delivering clean drinking water, pre and post-natal care and vaccination reminders for the world’s most vulnerable children. In Colombia, Sinergias is supporting families who may only be accessible by plane or boat,making them the winner of our Hardest-to-Reach award.  

The 2017 winners and their innovations:

Association for Humanitarian Development (AHD) Pakistan – $320,000 awarded for a unique, simple, inexpensive, and versatile water filter unit.  Sourced and constructed locally from mud pots, the “Nadi” filter costs just US$10-15   per-unit, and once untreated water filters through, Nadi removes 98%-100% of biological contamination, providing communities access to clean and reliable drinking water.  The need in rural Pakistan is especially great, as many still drink contaminated water, with children under-five and mothers particularly vulnerable to water-related illness. Since launching in 2007, the Nadi Filter has provided clean and safe drinking water to 400,000 households.

Sinergias, Colombia – $250,000 awarded for their comprehensive, cross-cultural healthcare delivery model, tailored to the needs of indigenous populations in Colombia’s Amazon region.  The winning programme was originally developed for mothers and children, and then adjusted to add a neglected tropical infectious disease programme in order to accommodate local realities. With both programmes offered simultaneously to all members of the 18 local indigenous communities, an integrated care model was born that focused primarily on pregnant women and children under-five, and that worked in partnership with local health authorities and indigenous organisations.

ARMMAN, India – $115,000 for “mMitra” a free mobile voice call service in India that provides preventative care information to reduce maternal and child mortality.  The programme targets underserved pregnant women and mothers of children under five, who live in urban slums or in rural India and do not have access to sufficient health care. mMitra calls are received by the enrolled women in their chosen local language/dialect, are specifically tailored to their child’s age, and are received weekly or bi-weekly through the mother’s pregnancy and their child’s infancy.

Alma Sana, Nigeria – $100,000 for stimulating parents’ uptake and demand for their children’s immunisations, one of the world’s most powerful tools for reducing under-five mortality and morbidity, through the practice of the child wearing a simple, bracelet.  The bracelets empower mothers by presenting them with a constant and visual reminder of their baby’s vaccination schedules through symbols embedded in the bracelet, turning their babies’ ‘jewellery’ into a vaccine calendar and check-list. The bracelets were designed with input from mothers and nurses, are waterproof, durable, baby-safe, and intended for parents living on US$1.25 or less a day. As the bracelet’s immunisation reminders are represented through symbols and numbers and not words, this different kind of ‘wearable technology’ is suitable for literate and non-literate parents alike.