An innovative programme by development organisation BRAC transforming health for women and children in Dhaka’s slums has been awarded a prize in the first global GSK and Save the Children $1million Healthcare Innovation Award.
BRAC is one of five organisations, from a long list of nearly 100 applications from 29 countries from across the developing world, selected to share the award. It will receive $300,000 to pilot test its programme, called Manoshi, in the slums of Freetown, Sierra Leone, where under-five and maternal mortality rates are amongst the highest in the world.
The Manoshi programme offers a comprehensive package of health services to mothers, infants and children. To meet their health needs and challenges, Manoshi has three key innovations that provide holistic solutions, including:
• Simple, clean delivery rooms for new mothers
• Quick access to emergency health services for those who could not afford it
• Digital data collection on patients for more efficient health service delivery
The Bangladesh-based NGO, founded in 1972, plays a significant part in the push to reduce Bangladesh’s own under-five and maternal mortality rates, the latter of which has seen a 40 per cent drop in a decade.
A judging panel of experts from the fields of public health and development1, co-chaired by Sir Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK, and Justin Forsyth, Chief Executive of Save the Children, including Dr Abbas Bhuiya, Interim Executive Director of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, were impressed with the south-led innovation and the viability and impact of Manoshi and its potential to transform health for growing urban populations in Bangladesh and in Sierra Leone.
Azizul Huq, Managing Director at GSK Bangladesh, said: “This remarkable project shows what can be achieved through innovation from within those closest to healthcare challenges faced by developing countries and we are delighted to be able to recognise the hard work of all involved. It has saved lives of mothers and children in Bangladesh and can make a difference for the people of Sierra Leone.”
Dr. Kaosar Afsana, Director of BRAC’s Health, Nutrition and Population Programme said: “It is an honour to be recognised and awarded for the work we are doing in Bangladesh through our Manoshi programme. We thank GSK and Save the Children for the award money, which will be used to take the programme to Freetown, Sierra Leone, demonstrating excellent South-South collaboration.”
The partnership between GSK and Save the Children aims to deliver a new model for corporate-charity working to help save the lives of a million children.