CARE and GSK: Training frontline health workers

A community health worker talks to a group of women from a village near Dhangadhi, Nepal, at a meeting about maternal health care

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Partnering for better maternal and child health outcomes in Asia and Africa

Imagine being unable to access quality health services and receive skilled care when you are pregnant, or when your children are sick...

For millions of mothers and children in many parts of the world, this is a daily reality. Almost all deaths due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth (a staggering 99%) occur in developing countries, while only half of all births (46%) are attended by a skilled health worker. Children in developing countries are 13 times more likely to die than in developed countries.

But there is an inexpensive and effective solution – and CARE and GSK have been working in partnership since 2011 to deliver it for mothers and children, initially in Asia and now also in Africa.

CARE-GSK partnership infographic

Training frontline health workers

Under its innovative 20% Reinvestment Initiative, GSK commits 20% of its profits in least-developed countries to strengthen community health systems and improve access to basic health through supporting training of frontline health workers in these countries.

CARE is working with GSK in seven countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chad, Laos, Myanmar and Nepal. The programme focuses on improving access to health services in the most remote and marginalised communities.

This five-year partnership has already trained almost 20,000 community health workers, providing more than 4 million people with better access to skilled health services and educational campaigns.

Download a PDF of the CARE-GSK International partnership infographic 2016

A mother and her son looking at a birthing chart
A pregnant woman looks at a birthing chart, Dhangadhi, Nepal

Long-term improvements

By building the capacity of local health workers, ensuring their financial sustainability and working with local governments, the initiative aims to create long-term improvements in health care provision.

Building on the lessons from three years of working together, the partnership is also developing new projects that bring together economic empowerment – including income-generating opportunities and workers’ rights – and governance issues with health education, health and nutritional service provision, and community support.

Ramil Burden, GSK VP (Developing Countries, Asia, and External Affairs, Africa and Developing Countries), said after visiting our project in Sunamganj, Bangladesh:

I was very impressed with CARE’s approach to building long-term sustainable solutions in health infrastructure, particularly the importance assigned to educating and empowering communities, and integration with the local healthcare system and Ministry of Health.

This, along with evidence of positive improvements in morbidity and mortality in the project area, demonstrates the great impact this programme has had on improving access to healthcare for the most under-served in this part of Bangladesh.

We’re recommending the approach used by CARE International in this programme as the ‘Gold Standard’ for all the other 20% Reinvestment programmes globally.  

CARE also benefits from PULSE – GSK’s volunteering secondment scheme – and we have GSK volunteers in our Nepal and Bangladesh operations.

In 2014 the initiative won a prestigious Big Tick award from Business in the Community.